April 22, 2013
His Excellency Claudio Bisogniero, Ambassador of Italy
3000 Whitehaven Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
My name is Emanuele Alfano and I am the Founder and President of the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition. For more than twenty years our mission is to ensure the rightful representation of Americans of Italian origin and of all peoples whose paths towards social equality have been impeded. The powers of intellect, wisdom, and due process will be brought to bear on all inequities.
We have been speaking out with ONE VOICE against negative stereotyping. We have a national network of ONE VOICE activists enabling the 25 million members of the Italian American community to act as one united voice when dealing with defamation, discrimination and negative stereotyping of our grand culture and heritage.
Very recently, we received hundreds of complaints about an incident involving Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler/Fiat. It was reported in numerous news stories that Mr. Marchionne told a room of journalists at a recent car show: “I won’t put an American engine into that car. With all due respect to my American friends, it needs to be a wop engine.”
Mr. Ambassador “wop” is a recognized and hurtful slur against Italian Americans and cannot be tolerated by anyone, let alone someone of Italian descent.
We have reached out to Mr. Marchionne and his public relations manager, Gualberto Ranieri, asking that he simply apologize for using a such derogatory term to describe Italians and Italian Americans. We were finally told more than a month ago that he would apologize, but he wanted to write it himself.
We have waited patiently and are willing to wait, but we find Mr. Marchionne disrespectful to the Italian American community after we heard that on February 4th, 2011, he caused a minor uproar by saying, “I want to repay the shyster loans,” referring to the high-interest rates on money lent to the company in 2009 by U.S. taxpayers as part of the Chrysler’s bankruptcy. The next day, he apologized for that remark due to the word ‘shyster’ being a derogatory term for another ethnicity.
We are respectfully requesting that your office contact Mr. Marchionne and urge him to comply with his statement that he would apologize for using such a derogatory term to describe Italians and Italian Americans. We would prefer that this disgraceful situation be resolved amicably through his apology.
Thank you, in advance, for your kind assistance in alleviating this unacceptable situation. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me. My telephone number is 973-429-2818 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Emanuele Alfano
Founder and President
Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition, Inc.
an IRS-Registered 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Corporation
Italian Embassy in Canada
Consulate-General of Italy in New York
Consolato of Italy in Newark
Jody Trapasso, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Chrysler Group LLC
IAOVC Board of Directors