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Apple's New TV Ad Uses The Italian Version Of The "N"-Word!

Updated on April 20, 2009
Terroni: A derogatory racist term for a Southern Italian.
Terroni: A derogatory racist term for a Southern Italian.

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!

From the FIRST PAGE of Google results for the search "terroni". So much for Apple not being able to find the derogatory meaning!
From the FIRST PAGE of Google results for the search "terroni". So much for Apple not being able to find the derogatory meaning!

Check out some of Hal's other PC Technology Hubs!

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    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      bobo... geez, I dunno... lemme ask Dr. Laura, Mel Gibson, or Michael Richards that. DUH!

      LIMF: See above.

      seanorjohn: Thanks. They had it coming! Uncle Hal will continue to keep their feet to the fire when they need it! :)

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 7 years ago

      Well done Hal. fantastic achievement to bring apple to their senses.

    • profile image

      Long Island Marketing Firm 7 years ago

      Could you do it better ?

    • profile image

      bobo 7 years ago

      The next thing you know, we will all have to consult a dictionery of all laguages to find derogatory words before we open our mouths. Seems as if PC has gone over the brink. . . . . everyone now uses it to open a lawsuit.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks Uninvited Writer! You're always invited and welcome! :)

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Well done Hal...

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

    • profile image

      Shrek 8 years ago

      Unlike all the other examples that you give, I have never heard of Terroni. I just did a google search and only got restaurants and city names, nothing in regards to being an offensive term.

    • profile image

      Ph03nix 8 years ago

      The point to the app is that you shake it and it randomly comes up with a restaurant. You think that they have a whole team of people reveiwing their comercials looking for a slur that is popular in another country that only a handfull oof people know what it is. On top of that in my book apologies only are warranted when someone knowingly does something wrong. If apple let the name past then they didn't knowingly say hey lets put a slur in here. your little racial thing here isn't the most popular itallian slur is it... What about the word wop, it's better known. I'm done with this blog. have a nice life searching out all of the slurs you can find in every walk of life and while your at it why don't you find this restaurant and call them and demand the apology, if it's true they are more in the wrong than apple.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I could not have been happier with the extremely polite and understanding tone of my conversation with the gentleman from Apple, who I will be happy to publicly identify once I receive more information. I am truly expecting that it will restore my faith in the company that I have evangelized since 1986! And that of my countrymen as well, especially on such a tragic day as today when so many of them lost their lives and their homes in the L'Aquila earthquake.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am so happy!!! They are all about the people and a great company I hope you recieve the outcome you are looking for...:)

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      NEWS FLASH! NEWS FLASH! NEWS FLASH!

      I received a call a few minutes ago from a courteous gentleman at Apple HQ who stated that he will be researching the situation and report back to me as soon as he is able to get a full picture of what has transpired to get that commercial on the air.

      I appreciate his interest and cooperation and look forward to receiving further communications from him. I will, of course, post that information as soon as I receive it.

      BRAVO, APPLE.

      DO THE RIGHT THING!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Dave, I can certainly see your point, and also share your disgust for the Marroccheni del Sud, but the bottom line is that the Supreme Court of Italy holds that Terroni is offensive and liable for compensation for moral damages. Apple should have known better, and I have no intention of backing off on my demands for an apology from them.

    • DaveHarris profile image

      DaveHarris 8 years ago from London, UK

      I lived in Northern Italy for several years, with my family. We integrated totally into Italian society. We are all bilingual and my kids regard themselves as more Italian than English. And yet I rarely ever heard the T word spoken. If people wanted to use a pejorative about Southern Italians, it would generally be "meridionale". Yes, I know what it actually means. But, here's the point: it is the way it is used that gives the word its cachet of racism. I've heard people from the South refer to themselves as "noi meridionali". On the few occasions that I've heard the word terroni used, it has been as a respectful acknowledgement of those that work the land and produce Italy's wonderful food. Now admittedly, I was working mostly with professionals and I am well aware that there are those in the North who would like to saw Italy in half and watch the Southern half sink, and I share your disgust at such people. But they are in a tiny, tiny majority. Even the Lega del Nord has massively lost support over the last 10 years or so. And so, please remember: the T word originally had a perfectly innocent meaning. As you point out, at a certain point in history, it was hijacked. The wheel has turned full circle and in today's Italy I think you'll find they use other words and that that one has returned to its original use, at least with most people. If I remember correctly, the last pejorative I heard for Southerners was "Marroccheni del sud" which I though quite sick.

      Allora, pace amico. Mi sembra che ai preso umbraggio ad una cosa di piu o meno niente. Salute.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Could not disagree more. Any moron could look on the front page of the google search AND look at the Terroni website itself: Both places show it as a derogatory term. NO EXCUSE.

      APPLE: APOLOGIZE.

    • profile image

      Julian 8 years ago

      I'd just like to point out that this is a Canadian Apple ad, not international. It is designed with a Canadian market in mind, and as such they used a well known Toronto restaurant as an example.And as for your comment, "they should have known better", the people making the ad probably only knew of Terroni the restaurant, and didn't even think that it had any potentially derogatory meanings.Imagine this: I emigrate to Japan and decide to open up a delicatessen. As a jew I name the place "Kike's Deli" as a jab at anti-semites. Now, this is in poor taste, but if Apple Japan decided to use it as an example of its restaurant finder, it wouldn't be a case of them being anti-semitic.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Frank: We could have crossed that wall but the revolting stink of haggis dissuaded us. (Actually... Frank... which wall are you talking about... both the Antonine and Hadrian's walls were of Roman construction!) :)

      angelo di fluno: Grazie! Thanks for the nice words. Much appreciated! And, yes, I fully intend on keep on raising hell until this situation is addressed by Apple!

      NQR: I've been clear that I'm Italian thus I'm not from Dalut which is in Oman. Or perhaps you're talking about dilution which is the case where your brain cells were diluted by the sewage sloshing around in your skull! :)

    • profile image

      NQR 8 years ago

      You are dalutional

    • angelo di fluno profile image

      angelo di fluno 8 years ago from Italy

      Ciao Hal, hai scatenato un bel "casino"!!!!! ... hai fatto bene!

      Angelo

    • profile image

      Frank 8 years ago

      "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"

      That may well be , my Italian friend ( disclaimer, as a motorcyclist I have visited Northern/Southern Italy lots...and they are without doubt the friendliest, motorcycle friendly nation in all Europe!!) but even the mighty Roman Empire couldn't cross the wall built by MY Gaelic/Celtic ancestors..........!!!

      Ciao,

      Frank.....(UK expat)

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Note to KariAnn who wrote me privately. I am a gentleman and thus agree that my argument stands on its own merits and does not require ad hominem references. Duly edited. Thank you.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks for the kind words as they are much appreciated, ricklim! As I mentioned earlier:

      I had my mother ask all of my uncles, aunts and cousins who live in her Southern Italian hometown:

      "Would you be offended to be called a Terrone?"

      17 said yes

      1 said no

      There is also the fact of the Supreme Court classifying it as an offensive word. Apple should certainly have known better!

    • ricklim profile image

      ricklim 8 years ago from BC

      WOW... you obviously feel very strongly about your cause Hal, I had never heard the term Terroni before I stubled accross this hub. But there is something I learned at a very young age, maybe you have heard of this.

      Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but Names will never hurt me. Not excusing them for saying Terroni... but in my research it means hard working farmers. Perhaps since you are from S. Italy, it has more meaning, but to the rest of the world its just a word.

      Oh ya, Ive been called every single derogatory comment about Asians that you can imagine, but the truth of the matter is, I have better things to do than waste my time sinking down to their level. While I make money... they call names.

      Any-hoo, HAL, im on your side, Apple should have done just a little more research before this ad went out. I could write all day about this... I better go do something more productive. Thanks for informing us about the word Terroni Hal, GOOD JOB.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      jjrubio, that is the bottom line about the iPhone ad featuring TERRONI. You're absolutely spot on, and APPLE HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      jjrubio: I have passed all this information to Gloria Nicoletti at the Italian-American Civil Rights League. If there is any judicial recourse to follow, I trust that organization will take whatever steps are necessary. Of course, I'm keeping track of everything to turn over to Ms. Nicoletti's organization should they request it.

      AEvans: Hurry back, I miss you! :)

      Here is a list of some of the top-rated restaurants in Toronto. There is nothing racially offensive about any of these names, or any other restaurants in Toronto, or even the entire nation of Canada!

      360; Accents; Acqua; Adega; Canoe & Jump Café & Bar; Chiado; Far Niente; Golden Thai; Lai Wah Heen; Oro; Provence; Reds Bistro & Bar; Rosewater Supper Club; Ruth's Chris Steakhouse; Segovia; Harbour 60 Steakhouse; Allen's; Myth; Courtyard Café; Opus; Prego Della Piazza; Pangaea; Sassafraz; Signatures; Truffles; Centro Grill & Wine Bar; Edo; Edo-ko; La Bodega; Lakes; North 44°; Scaramouche; Sotto Sotto; Splendido; Zucca; Auberge du Pommier; La Reserve; Richlee's; Terra; Cataract Inn; Daniel's of Nobleton; Millcroft Inn

      WHY WAS TERRONI USED?

      WHY WAS TERRONI USED?

      WHY WAS TERRONI USED?

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am stopping in, and will check back.:)

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I am of the understanding that his heritage is predominantly British with other nationalities mixed in. And regardless of anyone's ancestors, it does not give them rights to racially offend anyone else.

      The point is not whether Steve Jobs himself woke up one day and said "let's slander Southern Italians." That, of course, is ridiculous. The point is WHAT EPIC PHAIL OCCURRED INSIDE OF APPLE THAT ALLOWED THIS TO HIT THE AIRWAVES?

      There are thousands of restaurants in Toronto. All of them EXCEPT TERRONI have names that are NOT OFFENSIVE.

      WHY WAS TERRONI USED?

      ANSWER THAT, APPLE.

      Apple's had three days to answer. Nothing yet. It will be VERY interesting to see what happens.

    • profile image

      jjrubio 8 years ago

      Hey Hal....I hope you are keeping track of all of this and all the emails you have sent and lack or response on their part. This is getting pretty good. Now all you have to do is get some real good Representation who stands up for Civil Rights and all that good stuff.... Hmmmmmmmmmm

      perhaps a legal action may take place????

    • profile image

      Truth 8 years ago

      Steve Jobs is of Lebanese descent, previously Phoenicia, a civilization that predates Rome by, like, a millennium.

      I doubt he meant anything by displaying a restaurant search software demonstration in an ad.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      My family lives about 50 miles from Bari. I had my mother ask all of my uncles, aunts and cousins who live there:

      "Would you be offended to be called a Terrone?"

      17 said yes

      1 said no

      You're entitled to your opinion, sir, as much as it may be in the minority.

    • profile image

      James Fanelli 8 years ago

      My family hails from Bari. This ad offended me in no way.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      End of the SECOND business day at Apple and

      katiec@apple.com, dowling@apple.com, abessette@apple.com, abarney@apple.com, slundgren@apple.com, satkins@apple.com, simonp@apple.com, tbrewer@apple.com, harri@apple.com, jennifer.b@apple.com, tneumayr@apple.com

      have not replied in any way.

      Let's see what happens on THE THIRD BUSINESS DAY, but I do have to confess that their nonchalance and disregard for a very serious issue does trouble me, and lead me to wonder exactly what is going on at Cupertino.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I'm glad you rushed! Glad to see you! :)

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      You will get one and I had to rush over and follow up. :)

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks! Well, we don't have any real responses yet, but let's wait and see what they finally say!

    • profile image

      Covert Hypnosis 1 8 years ago

      wow, that's awesome that they did that. good that you speak up!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      First response:

      ---

      From: nat@apple.com Sent: Wed Apr 1 11:59 Subject: Nat Kerris out of the office

      I'm out of the office, returning on Monday, April 6.

      Please contact Tom Neumayr at (408) 974-1972 or tneumayr@apple.com.

      Thanks,Nat

      ---

      Ya ya, blah blah... 10 more to go.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      stfontes: Honestly, I don't give a rat's butt as to what misguided, misbegotten, deluded reasons anyone would want to go on a single handed crusade to overrule the Italian Supreme Court, let alone a couple of guys who scraped together a few bucks to open a pizza parlor in Toronto. They're hardly the NAACP or the Italian-American Civil Rights League, just another couple of pizzaioli. They're entirely irrelelvant. The question IS AND REMAINS:

      DID APPLE KNOW IT WAS RACIST?

      If they did, then they are seriously liable. If they didn't then they're seriously negligent. That's it. Unless you want to come up with some brilliant legal argument to overturn The Supreme Court, accept it or go away. End of the conversation.

      BTW, Gloria Nicoletti at the Italian-American Civil Rights League has been made aware of this situation. I await her response as well.

      Sally's Trove: I thought that at first as well, but I figured that the c at the end of apple was a subdomain for Apple Computer. I've just gone through Apple's online Media Directory and I've just sent the email to everyone that seems to have anything to do with the iPhone PR:

      katiec@apple.com, dowling@apple.com, abessette@apple.com, abarney@apple.com, slundgren@apple.com, satkins@apple.com, simonp@apple.com, tbrewer@apple.com, harri@apple.com, jennifer.b@apple.com, nat@apple.com

      Let's see if anyone replies now. I'll post whatever arrives!

      jjrubio: I made 8 calls to various numbers at Apple this morning and got absolutely nowhere. I just ended up emailing as you can see above. Let's give them a couple of days and then we'll see how we can best make use of your investigation techniques! :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Hal, the email address...should it be katiec@apple.com ...apple without the "c" at the end?

    • profile image

      jjrubio 8 years ago

      That's cool. But they transfer so many calls a day its highly unlikely that the Subpoena comment will be forwarded to the next department. I just meant to say it to the main operator to get you to the right department. I call huge corporations daily for Subpoenas and let me tell you...Every time I get transferred I have to start the story all over again. No one has time to repeat it to the next person. I think you would be safe with the Subpoena thing. At least to get to the legal department...otherwise its up to you.

      I have a few other connections if you need them...let me know. I do this stuff at work for a living..I am an excellent investigator and skip tracer....=)

    • profile image

      stfontes 8 years ago

      Did you even read why the restaurant owners used that word as the name? They want to take the word back to its original meaning (of the earth), they want the word to stop being an offensive word. If more people actually starting doing that it would be a great step in eliminating racism. I actually have seen a lot of talk shows about doing the same thing to the N word, try to take it back to its old meanings, to make it non-offensive again.

      Also, how can this be a racist word if its a word used between italians? Yes, it might be very offensive, but its not racist. Check the dictionary for what racism is.

      I don't think apple used this as racism. They probably just missed it. Since always, apple has always been one of the leading companies in promoting non-prejudice between their employees.

      My last point, words are only as offensive as we let them be. If people wouldn't let words like that offend them those words would eventually lose their meaning and people would just stop using them in an offensive way. By saying this, I'm don't mean that it's ok to use offensive words, just that it's something to think about, it's a great step to start in order to eventually kill racism.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks, jjrubio. This situation is so sensitive, though, that I wouldn't want to misrepresent myself as there is no subpoena. I'll play it straight and see if I can get to someone of authority. See you in the am! Nite! :)

    • profile image

      jjrubio 8 years ago

      Apple

      1 Infinite Loop Cupertino, CA 95014 408.996.1010

    • profile image

      jjrubio 8 years ago

      If that doesn't work then call and ask to speak to the Legal Department. Say it has to do with a Subpoena it will get you transferred. Then once you get to the legal department demand some answers for such a racist move on the part of that company!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      jjrubio: Wow! A torpedo would really go down good right now. As I've lost 13 lbs. in two days, I'm STARVING! :)

      AEvans: You have my promise that any response will be posted here within minutes of receipt.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      You never know, it just may surprise you , but do let us know what happens as this is going to be interesting. :)

    • profile image

      jjrubio 8 years ago

      Hell yeah! Right downtown,..hey we could stop and grab a bite at the famous Fillipis. They have the best Torpedo Sandwiches on the WESTSIDE!!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      jjrubio: Hey, next time, invite me. I love San Diego (I lived near La Mesa for a while) and I would love to straighten these punks out! :)

      AEvans: Thanks! I'll definitely give it a try. I'd love nothing better than to straighten out Steve Jobs on the appalling mess his company has created here, but I strongly doubt I'm going to get up that high. I'll post any developments as they happen!

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Here is the direct number to apple 408-896-1010 tell the receptionist you wish to speak with Steve Jobs, he is of course the CEO of APPLE and his the big man sitting on the Board Of Directors. I am certain that once you make that initial contact, they wil definitely direct to the party who can assist. :)

    • profile image

      jjrubio 8 years ago

      well anyways- I kicked her ass! LOL....this little chica can fight if it comes down to it!!! Glad to stand up for your wonderful culture!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks, jjrubio! This is the first I've heard of this Wop Town gang. That is absolutely despicable. Although I don't condone violence, I think that any member of that gang deserves a good smack to the head to try and get some sense into their dense skulls.

    • profile image

      jjrubio 8 years ago

      I am sorry about that. thats terrible. There is a gang in San diego that calls itself Wop Town in little italy. It is a bunch of Chicanos. Well I actually got in a fist fight with a girl from there and said why are you using that name for your gang? That is lame. They are not even italian and it is derrogatory. It is a shame that some people don't care and use these lame names for whatever they want without the second thought that they are sounding racist. Its sad.

      My great grandfather was very close with some of the Big Time Italian Families in Downtown SD Little Italy in the 40's and 50's and I have much respect for that culture. GOOD HUB!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      OOPS. The email address just bounced back as undeliverable. ANYONE HAVE ANY OTHER WAY TO CONTACT KATIE COTTON AT APPLE? PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP!

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks! I'd already sent a similar one to a generic contact email at Apple and received no response, but Cory's specific contact will hopefully provide some results! I'll definitely post any reply as soon as received.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am looking forward to the response, great letter Hal!!! :)

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Action it is, then. Thank you for the contact at Apple, Cory!

      I've just sent this email to:

      katiec@applec.com

      Dear Ms. Cotton.

      I would profoundly appreciate if you could take the time to review:

      https://hubpages.com/technology/Apples-New-TV-Ad-U...

      In that online article, I express the incredulous outrage felt by Southern Italians everywhere upon watching your network TV commerical of the iPhone selecting the UrbanSpoon app to access a restaurant named Terroni.

      You may not be aware that calling a Southern Italian a Terrone is equivalent to the worst possible derogatory racial slur, similar to the repugnant "N"-word. The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that the term is offensive and anyone found guilty of using it must compensate the plaintiff for moral damages.

      As an Apple evangelist for more than a decade, responsible for the sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars of Macintosh computers, I am aghast at how Apple could possibly let this filthy indignity be prominently aired in conjunction with its fine products. A basic precursory Google search shows that the term is clearly noted as derogatory on the very first results page, and surprisingly also on the website of the restaurant itself. Therefore, it is a negligence of the highest order to let something of this magnitude "just slip through."

      Apple has always been at the technological and cultural forefront of my generation. I assure you that an apology from your corporation and an immediate retraction of the offensive commercial would go a long way towards restoring the faith of 58 million Italians in my home country, and 20 million in North America, in your superlative suite of products.

      Sincerely

      Hal Licino

    • profile image

      Cory 8 years ago

      As a gay man who had my rights taken away through Prop 8 and who has been a victim of physical violence, I can understand how one may feel regarding a situation such as this. However, as I have worked with Apple, I can assure you Apple is far from racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. Contact One Infinite Loop in California, Katie Cotton would handle this swiftly and appropriately. Otherwise, the anger is not needed, action speaks louder.

    • Hal Licino profile image
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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      PalmerD: Don't try to pull that tired old chestnut out of the bag about "That's the name my people gave themselves which was later tainted by the English". Do you want to go back to the etymology of Nigger, which is from the scientific term Negroid, or Wop which is from "Guappo" which means "a man of respect"? You can prove damn near anything by going to the historical origins of the root forms of words. The only thing that matters is how they are used TODAY and how they are perceived TODAY. F*ck originally meant "to hit". And believe me, you call an African American a Nigger or me a Wop, and you're going to get an etymologically original F*ck right in the face.

      Dirk: You are so dumb that I truly wonder how you can generate the firing neurons to even type. How many thousands of restaurants are listed by UrbanSpoon? Show ONE justification why Terroni was picked. Duh!

      Angelo: I make the same case to you that I did to PalmerD, although minus the sarcasm as you have made some good points in the links in your name, and the strength of this statement:

      The Supreme Court has officially recognized that this term has a offensive, confirming a ruling of the Justice of Peace of Savona and confirming that the person who delivered it compensate the victim of moral damages.

      ...definitely seals any further argument.

      YOU CALL SOMEONE A TERRONE, YOU ARE LIABLE FOR MORAL DAMAGES ACCORDING TO THE SUPREME COURT.

      THIS CONFIRMS TERRONE IS A VILE, DEROGATORY WORD.

      WHY IS APPLE NOT LIABLE FOR ITS USE IN A TV AD SEEN BY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE?

      Before I wrote this Hub, I called my mother in Southern Italy and asked her to call my various aunts and uncles and cousins. The question was: if you are called a Terrone, would you be offended? Unanimous yes. Therefore, subjective or not, you call any of them a Terrone, you're gonna get a knuckle sandwich. The Supreme Court ruling and the unanimous confirmation by my entire family is more than good enough for me and trumps any vacuous justification of intended implication.

      Sickofit: Your comment is so rambling and nonsequitor that I'm just letting it stand as is, and the only thing I can respond to it with is a big, wet raspberry.

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      Angelo 8 years ago

      Wiki link translated from italian

      This will clear up why this is offensive.

      The article does state this is an officially demoralizing term in italy.

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      SickofIt 8 years ago

      Why don't you whiners all shut the hell up. I am so sick and tired of all the people who cry racist and the like. Why don't you have your mothers change your diapers and give you a great big comforting hug. This generation is full of poor-me's, pussies and cry babies. If it said Crackers then it would have been alright because it's acceptable to mock white people. The double standard in this day and age is ridiculous! Look, a person of color (1/2 black mind you) has attained the highest position in the land, president. The days of complaining that people of color are being held back and aren't able to get their fair share are over! You all have nothing to complain about anymore! So get off of your soap boxes and apply yourselves like everyone else does in the world. The handouts and Affirmative Action requirements for job placement should and have to come to an end! You now have a colored person in the white-house and if he can do it, then by all means you cry babies can!

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      Angelo 8 years ago

      This URL explains his point about "Terroni".

      I'm a southern Italian myself (Calabrase)

      Terroni or "Of the earth" is actually a complement. I do hear what you're saying Hal, it was translated by many Northern Italians to simply mean, "Peasant".

      The term gained popularity when many southern Italians migrated to the North. Many southerners were forced to stay in terrible temporary living conditions upon landing in the north. They would have to share toilets, sometimes sleep together in beds, etc, until they could earn enough to settle comfortably. Due to this, they were deemed as "Dirty".

      Bottom line, EVERY single country has North/South/East/West quarrels, this is an "Italian" thing, not an international slang word. Of the earth implies simplicity, on and on, the term, "Salt of the earth" implies "Down to earth". It means the southern italians come from humble ground.

      History tells us of the brilliance that has come from Southern Italy. If you're a Sicilian, many Terroni would take offense to you taking offense. The Sicilians are called things much different than Terroni, if I were you, I would take more offense to the other names you already called off that most racist bastards nail Sicilians with.

      Bottom line, unless you're an Italian from italy, or an italian who grew up hearing these stories, it would be logical to be angry at the bigotry between North and South, but "Terroni" itself is subjective because it's dependent on implication, not actual derogatory meaning.

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      Dirk 8 years ago

      There is no need for Apple to apologize. Blame Urban Spoon or the restaurant itself. Apple's commercial showed how the Urban Spoon app works in the REAL WORLD where people can name their restaurants TERRONI if they want to. I think you must have been abused as a child Hal.

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      PalmerD 8 years ago

      Resent away. That's the name my people gave themselves which was later tainted by the English. Should I give up on our self-given name because other people gave it a negative connotation?

      If I lived my life thinking that everyone meant to offend when they said one of the dozens of unknown or unrealized racial slurs like "I jew'd him down" or "I got gyp'd" or "What a bunch of vandals" <- also a very common slander of my heritage by the way, I'd spend too much of my life screaming on my website like you.

      Many "derogatory" terms originated from the nature of how a group of people lived, where they lived, their main food staples or even from names they called themselves. Had people not tainted these words, people would have been proud of their heritage; instead they allow others to belittle them for their lifestyle and destroy their history.

      The truth is, -people- created the negativity that these words actually once held and people like you insist on keeping their negativity alive. Until we get rid of the stigma which was attached to these words many generations ago, we can never move on from the ignorance of our fore-parents and take back the names, words and ideals that once made our people proud.

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      PalmerD 8 years ago

      Why go so far as searching google when the restaurant displayed in the ad clearly write on their website that they chose the name partially due to its derogatory meaning.

      Perhaps you should just go straight to the offending restaurant. After all, no matter what you say to Apple, Terroni will still show up on a big sign at 20 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario.

      http://www.terroni.ca/

      Another case of misdirected and defensive political correctness. Personally, if Apple does a single thing about the ad I'd be displeased as they clearly just showed the application in use.

      Signed,

      The Polack

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Misha: Nero D'Avola! Aaah... one of the best anythings to come out of Siracusa. Sure Apple screwed up, and the thesis that it was some closet racist at the agency is remote at best. As I stated previously it is very unlikely that anyone will ever know exactly what happened, so the bottom line is simple: APPLE, APOLOGIZE!

      AEvans: I've already emailed Apple first thing this morning. No reply yet. I'll definitely post it here should I receive an answer.

      tomhut: I'm not at all agitated, and no riots need to be started, but I am dismayed at the fact that right there on the very first page of a Google search on terroni is the Urban Dictionary link. You don't even have to click on the link to see the definition, as it's in plain sight on the Google results. Given the universality of Google searches that is massive negligence, especially when we consider that we're talking about Apple and not some unrelated company that makes hydraulic pumps for forklifts. After all... it's not like Apple has anything to do with computers and the internet! :)

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      tomhut 8 years ago

      Honestly, calm down. The word is not widely used in a negative context and wouldn't have raided any alarms at the advertising agency, so much can be taken negatively in different cultures and subcultures its impossible hard to ensure everything doesn't offend someone.

      It wasn't meant in a bad way and was a honest mistake, give Apple a break, they simply gave a small restaurant some publicity, no reason to start a riot.

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      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I read it clearly and I believe only deep thinkers could do that. Just my opinion , I would contact Apple as believe me they do respond. :)

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      Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

      LOL Hal, grab yourself a bottle of Nero d'Avola and don't pay attention to idiots. I am sure it was not intentional, someone just screwed up :)

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      The whole schoolyard recess excuse about "oh... we didn't know" doesn't hold a drop of water and I'm gratified to note that you see through it as a transparent ploy as well! Thanks, AEvans!

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      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Anyone smart enough at "APPLE" and there are many definitely know what the word "Terroni" means I back you on this one, as it is rude and shrewd and they knew what the hell they were doing. I find it hard to believe that a bunch of bumbling idioits work for them in marketing and if they do , they should go back to school. I know what the word means and I am not even Italian...I am with you on this one HAL!!! :)

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Somehow I doubt that this is all part of a shrewd ploy by two local Toronto restaurant owners to manipulate a $100 billion multinational computer corporation in order to sell more veal sandwiches. Sheesh.

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      oh great 8 years ago

      this is the problem with hyper-media.

      now you morons will know about terroni...and perhaps even go and eat there.

      great.

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      William: I've just placed the link in the third paragraph of the article. Enjoy.

      stfontes: I really don't want to spend my time giving you Google 101 lessons, but don't you know that google provides different results in different nations? Your screenshot is for Portugal's Google which has a completely different priority order algorithm. Geez. As for the derogatory terms I was brought up in a neighborhood which had a lot of people from the Azores, and I've heard them all. Of course those aren't words you'd hear in Portugal! Those are words you'd hear in North America against Portuguese! If you can manage another Google search (gasp) look them all up and see that they all are commonly used in a derogatory fashion against Portuguese nationals in the USA and Canada.

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      stfontes 8 years ago

      None of the words you said are derogatory for Portuguese. Pork N Cheese is an english or american dish. BacalHau is a type of fish. Manny is a guy i think? None of those are offensive to portuguese. I should know, I'm portuguese and lived in Portugal all my life. But no, the italian guy knows more offensive portuguese names than a Portuguese national...

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      stfontes 8 years ago

      My google search:http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/9651/picture5d....

      Where does it say there that terroni is racist?

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      William 8 years ago

      Where is this ad you reference? If is nowhere to be found. Link or it never aired

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      FYI I've put the actual first page listing image at the end of the article. You really don't know your way around Google much, do you? About as much as you know about derogatory slang words for Portuguese nationals. Go educate yourself first and then enter into debate.

      As for insulting people who share their opinions, there CAN BE NO OPINION TO JUSTIFY RACISM. The last time that was successfully done was NAZI GERMANY.

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      stfontes 8 years ago

      And yet you're insulting the people who aren't name calling or insulting you, who are just sharing their opinions.

      In my google page the definitions of terrone don't appear. i never said it would be impossible for apple to find that out, I said that it would be harder unless they were looking for it.

      And check the dictionary for the definition of racist. It doesn't say anything about if you say a racist word, you're racist. What it says is that racism is prejudice against other races. How is apple being prejudiced?

      And Pork N Cheese? Bacalau? Manny? Is that supposed to mean anything to me?

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I'll make sure that the next time I go to the local deli and address the owner as Mr. Kike Hymie Penny-Chaser Yiddiot Shylock Christ-Killer, I'll preface that with a statement that there's "no intention behind the words". So, as a Portuguese national, do you like to be called a Pork N Cheese? How about Bacalau? Maybe Manny? For cryin' out loud, Apple Computer is not the local used car dealer down the street running a cheap TV ad to sell old iron on the late late late show. It is a multinational corporation worth $100 billion dollars and a major cultural and technological trendsetter. If they can't be bothered to enter a single word Google search in order to avoid offending 6%, or almost 18 million Americans out of the entire US population, then there is no justification for their existence.

      Besides, you're definitely proving that what I said about your Google skills is true. RIGHT FROM THE FIRST PAGE OF GOOGLE terroni:

      terrone - 2 definitions - A derogatory term for Italians south of Bologna.

      So... still SO IMPOSSIBLE for Apple to find out that it's a racist statement?

      I really can't believe some of you online commenters. You'd try to justify child rape just to massage your own egos. You should see the explicit language and name calling in some of the comments that I'm deleting before publication.

      Racists make me sick. Some of the commenters around here are having the same effect. Shame on you. Stand up for what's right. Show some ethics and backbone for once in your miserable little lives!

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      stfontes 8 years ago

      First, I'm not trying to justify racism. I just don't think something is racist, something like a word, if there's no intention behind the word.

      Second: When apple did the ad if they didn't know that "terroni" was a racist word they probably, just like me, just googled "terroni" and not "terroni racism". If you just google "terroni", at least in the first pages, you won't find anything about racism, only about the restaurant. Since this ad is to promote an app to find restaurants, makes sense. You won't find anything racist about it unless you look for it. I don't think apple, or anyone for that matter, will assume that the name of a popular restaurant is a racist word.

      Third: I'm portuguese. Portuguese from Portugal and portuguese from Brazil are very similar, but some words have different meanings. The word portuguese word for "girl" in Brazil means prostitute. If I'm from portugal and didn't know that double meaning, am I being offensive by using that word, that in my country just means girl? What if someone from Brazil calls me "girl" (which for them means prostitute)? Aren't they being offensive, even if I don't know what that word means to them? They intentionally are insulting me, even if it has no meaning to me.

      My point is that for something to be racist, or offensive, it has to be intentional. If you insult me in italian, are you being less offensive because I don't understand what that means? No, you you still say something that is offensive, with intention for it to be offensive.

      Again, I'm not defending racism. Just defending that I don't think Apple is being racist.

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      My blood pressure is a wonderfully healthy 110/70 so keep on laughing, dude. I know I'll be laughing for a long time at idiots like you. It's people like you who are the apologists for skinheads, neo-Nazis, and lynch-mob racists of all stripes and who are to be held responsible for promoting and justifying racism. Do yourself a favor and go educate yourself by walking down a Harlem street and greeting passers by with choice African racial epithets. Let's see how long you last, racist.

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      Dirk 8 years ago

      I just now find it hilarious, the whole thing. I love how upset you are over this. Surely your arteries are hardening at least!

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Wow, where did you learn your Google skills, off the side of a cereal box? Google terroni racism and come up with these quotes JUST OFF THE TOP OF THE FIRST PAGE:

      Hawes uses the racist term terroni

      Cole explains that in the north terroni (the derogatory term for southerners) as well as foreigners are targets of racist graffiti and gang violence

      TERRONI GO HOME!!!

      inferior terroni should go back to the south

      there is racism in Italy. It's common to hear the northerners call the southerners "terroni",

      there was a lot of racism against the “terroni”,

      Oh, and Google terroni razzismo (racist) and come up with 27,400 links. It helps to speak Italian. Last time I checked Apple Italia was a major company with thousands of employees.

      And your example of African Americans using the word Nigger is fundamentally flawed. Is Apple Computer a Southern Italian company? Is Cupertino just outside Palermo? Sheesh!

      I'm always amazed when the knee jerk nattering nabobs of net negativism want to be contrarian just for the sake of flaming. Stop trying to justify racism, fool!

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      stfontes 8 years ago

      @Hai Licino, I tried googling the word "terroni" and so far in 3 pages all I found is the LA and the Tornonto restaurant. So far I haven't found one single link that shows that terroni is a racist word. If not even the restaurant owners, who are italian, don't find it offensive and googling, at least so far, doesn't show it's offensive too how was apple supposed to know?

      Also, racism by definition is being prejudiced about other races. If one has no intention of being racist, has no prejudice about anyone, doesn't know that a certain word is racist how is one being racist by using a word they don't know is racist?

      A lot of africans sometimes use the word "nigger" between themselves, they don't say it as an insult and don't take it as an insult. Is that being racist?

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      Dirk 8 years ago

      Sigh... the word terroni is NOTHING like the 'N' word... this is my point. The name Terroni, which means people of the earth, was controversial to some as a derogatory term for people from Southern Italy. HARDLY a widely used racial slur my friend.

      http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/602568

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I do not have the inside information to determine whether or not this was an "honest mistake" or an "Easter Egg" dropped into an otherwise neutral ad by some racist bastard, and neither does anyone else. We have to judge a nationally broadcast TV advertisement on what it says, not what might or might not have happened in some office on Madison Avenue during its scripting stage.

      Would I be justified in running a TV ad about Nigger Watermelons, Kike Matzo Balls, Raghead Falafel, or Beaner Burritos? I could always say that it was an honest mistake! "Geez... I didn't know that was offensive!" Ignorance and incompetence is not justification for racism. It never has been and it never will be. If I were to be as stupid and insensitive as Apple, I would merit the exact same amount of pillorying that Apple deserves.

      I'll let this go when I'll stand idly by while African Americans, Jewish Americans, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, et al. are racially insulted. THAT IS NEVER! Racism is wrong and is to BE ACTIVELY CHALLENGED. That's the bottom line. If you don't agree, then I feel sorry for you and the people who share your mistaken values.

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      Dirk 8 years ago

      Hal, I think you are going a bit over the top here. I do believe, as I'm sure you do too, that this was an honest mistake. Your article title is so sensationalist when in fact, this is much to do about nothing. Are you going to sleep less now? Are babies going to die horrible deaths because of this? Is the world going to end? Let it go and live longer.

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      The population of Italy is 58 million people, and in the 2006 US Census, the Italian-American population was 17.8 million persons constituting 6 percent of the population, making it the fifth largest ethnic group in the country. And Apple's $100 billion in resources couldn't google a word that stays prominently on the screen of millions of TV viewers for several seconds in one of their TV commercials? That is negligence verging on criminal slander. APPLE: APOLOGIZE NOW!

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      Dirk 8 years ago

      Perhaps they just didn't know? Who would? It seems to be a very obscure word.

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      My Sicilian mother and her family shortly after WWII were relocated to the North of Italy, and has first hand experience of the signs on rental apartments stating WE DO NOT RENT TO TERRONI. Mr. Scoppio and Mammoliti are obviously ignorant of their own heritage, and the discriminatory qualities of the word Terroni. I trust that some younger African Americans are not aware of the 1940s George Pal cartoons which show a "little black Sambo" carousing through Watermelon Land, or crooners performing in blackface. Just because someone is ignorant of the historical references of a particular subject does not make it any less racist. Scoppio and Mammoliti should be ashamed of themselves, just as any African American chef who named his restaurant Jungle Bunny, or Coon Spade!

      Now let's get back to the subject of the Hub. With thousands and thousands and thousands of perfectly neutral non-racist restaurant names in the Yellow Pages of North America, why did Apple pick ONE THAT IS RACIST???

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      John 8 years ago

      or....at least some of those names possibly (I don't know...just throwing this out there) had legitimate origins and some moron (skinheads in this case) comes along and distorts the word's meaning. According to the Toronto restaurant's web site (there is one in Los Angeles, but they don't appear to have a site): "Friends and co-owners Paolo Scoppio and Cosimo Mammoliti chose the name Terroni, meaning of the earth, as an homage to their southern Italian heritage." They also mention it being a derogatory name, but (my interpretation) they prefer to use it as it was meant to be. So, by being all upset about a word, you have given the skinheads what they want. Instead, maybe people should work to reclaim the rightful meaning.

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks Sally's Trove. Your comments are appreciated. I am gratified that Google recognized this Hub so quickly. It's an indication of the attention that this report is getting around the net. I've already emailed Apple, and I will most definitely report back should I get a reply.

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the enlightenment about the pejorative term. I had no idea. After reading your Hub, I searched online to see if I could find a restaurant with the N word in the name. To your point ("Why is discrimination against blacks and Asians not allowed but it's fine against Italians?"), I found only a one-line reference to one that may have existed as either fact or fiction--hard to tell from the limited info. I assume you wrote Apple and their agency a couple of letters? Would be interesting to hear their reaction.

      Nice job. This Hub is sixth down on Google page 1 on a search for "terroni iphone". If the name had been "Polak" (which also is a surname), I would have written this Hub.

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Check superpages. So is Chink, Nigger, Sambo, Kike, Beaner, Spik and Kaffir. They are all surnames. And out of all the names to put on the iPhone, they should have used one of them? There are countless restaurant names in the superpages. So you say that Apple should have maybe had an ad that said that Mr. Chink, Mr. Nigger, Mr. Kike, so on use iPhones? Why use a racist term? it's the insensitivity and plain stupidity that Apple's agency used that's the whole point here. Wake up and smell the coffee. Duh!

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      John 8 years ago

      A google search reveals that "Terroni" is also a surname.

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      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Fact checking? And you say the eatery is in Los Angeles when it's in Toronto? And so what anyway? Why not Sambo or Chinks! Why is discrimination against blacks and Asians not allowed but it's fine against Italians?

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      Ken 8 years ago

      You should really do some fact checking. Better get out the protest for the folloing LA Eatery

      http://www.terroni.ca/