The New York state lottery has apologized to Italian-Americans after it aired a series of TV ads that featured Sopranos-esque mob characters.
The ads, for a $3 million scratch off game called "Ba Da Bling," featured the characters singing about the game in Brooklyn accents to the tune of Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," the New York Post reported Monday.
Italian-American groups expressed distaste toward the ad, and one group, the Sons of Italy in America's New York chapter, issued a complaint to the lottery commission that decried the stereotypical portrayal of their ethnicity.
"Here we go again, the traditional stereotype of the Italian-Americans, they belong to the mob," said Stella Grillo, a representative of the group.
"I know a lot of people are saying you are overly sensitive," she said. "But Americans have become more sensitive to most racial groups, and it should apply to Italian Americans."
The lottery apologized in a letter to Grillo, saying the commission did not mean to offend anyone with the ads, which were scheduled to stop running Monday.