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Rep. Steve Israel lowers boom on 'Princesses Long Island'
"Princesses: Long Island" suddenly has a new critic -- this time a powerful one. Rep. Steve Israel, the Huntington Democrat who represents the 3rd District, covering a swath of the North Shore, from Great Neck to East Northport, has come down hard on Bravo's reality series, saying in a tough commentary on Huffington Post that the series denigrates Jewish women and perpetrates harmful stereotypes.
A key outtake:
Jews have spent thousands of years trying to dispel stereotypes. We've been repeatedly persecuted by groups that hate based on falsities and gross generalizations. I've worked my whole life to combat this type of hatred. And I'm the product of grandparents who came to this country to escape the Pogroms of Russia and the hatred they faced simply because of their religion. Therefore, I will not silently tolerate a show that paints Jewish women on Long Island with all-too-familiar and painful stereotypes -- money-hungry, superficial, Jewish-American Princesses. The characters on the show are welcome to live their lives however they may choose, but I don't want viewers of the show to think that they are, in any way, representative of Jews or Long Islanders.
He holds particular ire for a recent episode, saying:
In the latest episode, the characters get together for a Shabbat dinner, an important tradition in the Jewish faith and culture. As a Jew, I can say with confidence that this dinner was exactly the opposite of what the sacred Sabbath dinner is supposed to be. But for those watching unfamiliar with the holy meaning of the Jewish Sabbath, it is shown in the worst way possible, with excessive drinking and fighting. The characters do not shy away from any Jewish stereotypes and portray both Jews and Long Islanders in the most unflattering light possible. Yes, I know this is reality TV, but it's still unacceptable.
Politicians have whacked at reality series in the past -- perhaps most famously Chris Christie's rhetorical assault on "Jersey Shore" -- but Israel's broadside certainly has a sharper edge.
Bravo now has a statement responding:
"Princesses: Long Island" is a show about six women who are young, educated, single and Jewish living in Long Island, and is not meant to represent all Jewish women or other residents of Long Island."