A bunch of 15 state and nationwide Italian American organizations is demanding an apology from a liberal citizen group for utilizing ethnic stereotypes to criticize what it says are the “5 Households” which can be the highest 5 insurance coverage firms in Connecticut.
The group is criticizing the Connecticut Citizen Motion Group for utilizing the imagery on its web site and in social media, reminiscent of Fb. The organizations say it’s improper to make use of “false and defamatory ethnic stereotyping” that has an “extraordinarily damaging influence on a proud American ethnic group.”
Within the imagery, the highest 5 insurance coverage firms in Connecticut are in comparison with the “5 Households” in organized crime in New York Metropolis and New England. A Fb web page makes use of photos much like promoting for the film “The Godfather.”
The insurance coverage firms are Anthem, CIGNA, CVS Well being, Tufts/Harvard Pilgrim and United Healthcare.
The imagery is “a despicable try to match the employers to the ‘5 Households’ of organized crime as perpetuated in tv and films,” the group says.
A few of the high insurance coverage executives are Italian People, together with CEO David Cordani of CIGNA and Lou Gianquinto, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Protect in Connecticut. Anthem declined to remark, and CIGNA didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Tom Swan, the chief director of the motion group for the previous 28 years, stood by the marketing campaign and the imagery. He mentioned his group would concern one other report on the insurance coverage firms subsequent week.
“I do know the insurance coverage firms had been working overdrive on this,” Swan mentioned Thursday in an interview. “We have now mentioned nothing about ethnicity and wouldn’t say something about ethnicity. This can be a determined try by the insurance coverage firms to distract from their unethical habits.”
For the previous 50 years, CCAG has been battling towards the insurance coverage firms — issuing experiences about lobbying efforts, government compensation and different well being care points. CCAG representatives have testified on the state Capitol a number of occasions on numerous payments impacting the insurance coverage trade by the years.
Swan mentioned he had seen just one letter from a vice chairman of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in Pensacola, Florida, and had not but seen the letter by the Connecticut teams.
A nationwide group, the Fee for Social Justice of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, additionally joined the trouble with a separate letter.
“We name on you, and the CCAG group, to right away take away all defamatory statements, references, and content material out of your web site and to cease any future false and defamatory ethnic stereotyping and provide an apology to the leaders of those firms and the Italian American group in Connecticut and all through the nation,” wrote Robert M. Ferrito, president of the Fee for Social Justice.
“This culturally insensitive and defamatory imagery has an especially damaging influence on a proud American ethnic group and to all peoples who’re victimized by dangerous stereotypes that promote ethnic prejudice. Your reference to those firms, with whom two of the 5 President/CEOs are of Italian American heritage, is deceptive and feeds historic myths used to stereotype Italian People.”
In his letter, Ferrito added, “No matter anybody’s views about insurance coverage, insurance coverage coverage or insurance coverage firms, your try and create damaging implications is hurtful and very dangerous. It distressing to the numerous Italian People who’ve made significant contributions to our communities and society in Connecticut and throughout the USA, that you just proceed to perpetuate this damaging stereotyping and never so refined ethnic discrimination.”
Each the state and nationwide teams mentioned they’d take additional steps if the commercial isn’t eliminated, however they didn’t particularly say that they’d file a lawsuit.
“If you don’t take this motion, we’ll take into account all applicable actions towards you and CCAG and search all obtainable treatments,” Ferrito wrote.
The joint letter was signed by the leaders of assorted organizations, together with the Connecticut Italian American Bar Affiliation, Pontelandolfo Group Membership in Waterbury, Pratolana Mutual Profit Society in Hartford, Normal Ameglio Civic Affiliation in New Britain, Canicattinese Society in Newington, Floridan Society in Rocky Hill, Canicattinese Women Society in Hartford, Circolo Sportivo Italo Americano in Bridgeport, Middletown Sons of Italy and others.
CCAG answered a separate letter from a consultant of the anti-defamation arm of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America by saying that they by no means meant to offend any ethnic group.
“We have now checked with quite a few Italian-American employees, members and allies who share our perception that there’s nothing about this effort that’s damaging in direction of their heritage,” mentioned a CCAG spokeswoman. “We perceive that you just really feel otherwise and hope our rationalization satisfies your issues.”
Christopher Keating could be reached at [email protected]