Apple's New TV Ad Uses The Italian Version Of The "N"-Word!
Before you start reading this Hub, there are various later developments that you should be aware of:
First of all, it is clearly stated on Terroni Restaurants' website that the term is derogatory; and The Italian Supreme Court has officially recognized that this term is offensive and anyone found guilty of using it must compensate the plaintiff for moral damages.
I took this situation very seriously, thus contacted a number of executives at Apple to make them aware of this situation, and on April 6 I was contacted by Mr. Stuart McKenzie from Apple Corporate Public Relations. He called me to explain that he had read this Hub and would discuss the matter with various other executives at Apple and come up with a solution.
On April 8, Mr. McKenzie called me again, and informed me that the use of offensive term Terroni in the Apple ad was entirely inadvertent, that Apple had no desire to offend the Italian community, and that the television commercial was going to "be pulled immediately and never shown again."
Apple has "done the right thing." By removing this commercial from the television airwaves, they are clearly demonstrating that they are sensitive to the issues surrounding their use of this derogatory term.
Thank you Apple. My fellow Southern Italians and I appreciate your action and are grateful for your understanding.
Now onto the Hub that brought down that unfortunate Apple television commercial:
Apple seems to have done the incredible. No, it's not an introduction of a new iSomething, it's one of the biggest faux pas stumble gaffes in modern advertising history.
I nearly fell off my chair last night as I was watching a network TV program. Right there, dominating the screen of the iPhone being demonstrated was the word: Terroni.
Here is the link to the video on the apple.com site.
To the uninitiated, allow me to inform you what Terroni means in Italian. It is a derogatory term utilized by skinheads, neo-Nazis, and other violent racists to indicate that Southern Italians are retrograde, primitive, stupid Neanderthals only fit to till the earth with an ox, and unworthy of civil rights or equality in any way. There is essentially no difference in the level of derogatory intent in the use of the word Terroni versus Ni*ger, Sp*k, Be*ner, Po*ack, or Ki*e.
As a man who was born and raised in Southern Italy, I would like to inform Apple Computer that on behalf of my millions of countrymen, I am profoundly offended and demand the immediate retraction of this blatantly racist television commercial.
I have been directly and personally responsible over the years for the sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars of Apple Macintosh computers. I have spent upwards of a decade evangelizing Macintosh products to a wide variety of private individuals and businesses. I am completely dumbfounded at the use of the word Terroni in an advertisement for an Apple product. I am well aware that some minor gopher at the ad agency will likely be called upon to fall on their sword and claim that they weren't aware that Terroni was a derogatory term, and that would infuriate me even more. Are you telling me that the prime time TV ad for a $100 billion dollar corporation is not vetted and checked before airing to millions of people? What if the word used had been Ka*fir, which is an extraordinarily vicious derogatory term for black Africans from the days of South African Apartheid? Would the doughhead at the ad agency use the same excuse... "I'd never heard of Ka*fir before!"
The same applies if the weak justification is that there are a couple of restaurants somewhere misbegottenly named Terroni. Would Apple's ad agency have used Sambo, the name of a Santa Barbara, California restaurant, or Chinks, the name of an eatery in Philadelphia? There are tens of thousands of perfectly acceptable restaurant names in the Yellow Pages which could have been used in the ad! How would African Americans look upon Apple's national advertising of a Sambo? About the same as Asian Americans would look upon Apple advertising Chinks!
Well, I'm not an African American or Chinese American, I'm an Italian North American, and what Apple has done is call me and my fellow countrymen a humiliating name that is completely equivalent to any derogatory racist term in use by the dregs of society. Terroni is a far worse racist name to call a Southern Italian than W*p, Da*o, Gu*nea, Ma*ia, or just about any you have heard. Just as any self-respecting African American would not sit idly by when Apple Computer featured the word Ni*ger or Ka*fir in a nationally broadcast prime time television commercial for an iPhone, then I will not sit idly by while Apple denigrates my entire heritage.
I would respectfully remind Apple Computer that in my hometown we had a highly developed Roman civilization when the American culture's ancestors in Britain were still living in huts. The Empire of Rome, which included my hometown, was the force that brought civilization to Britain and the debt of gratitude that all AngloSaxon modern society owes to Rome is incalculable. In today's modern society we are all civilized and equal: There is no room for despicable racial discrimination anywhere and for any reason whatsoever.
I am no moronic, soil-tilling, grunting caveman Terrone, and neither are the millions of my compatriots. Therefore, Apple Computer, we await your retraction of this offensive commercial!
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