Days before Made in Staten Island becomes the newest addition to MTV’s revered reality show canon, a significant amount of backlash from New York City residents are putting a damper on its very gaudy, very Italian premiere. Per a New York Times feature, dozens of city officials and nearly ten thousand residents have signed a petition to cancel the show, which chronicles a series of young people born into notable crime families — but who want to distance themselves from their mob lifestyles. The loudest detractor, in fact, is none other then NYC mayor Bill de Blasio. “Anyone who has spent any time on Staten Island knows MTV is peddling stereotypes in a shameless ratings grab,” he tweeted last week. Joe Borelli, a councilman who represents Staten Island’s South Shore, also expressed his disgust and believes the show is exploiting youngsters on the island who are genuinely trying to better their lives.
“We’ve been stereotyped before but now they are playing this stereotype out among kids and glorifying a life of crime,” he told the Times. “They are stereotyping Italian-Americans on Staten Island as having a connection to criminal enterprises. If you named any other race, religion or creed, people would be upset about that.” The show, which is produced by Mob Wives’ Karen Gravano, is still scheduled to premiere on Monday evening.