Judge throws out 'Sopranos' bias case

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The Independent US

A lawsuit accusing the makers of the hit television series The Sopranos of offending Italian-Americans by depicting them as mobsters was thrown out by a US judge yesterday.

Judge Richard Siebel ruled that the American Italian Defence Association had no basis to sue because nobody had suffered any injury and the programme's makers, HBO, had a constitutional right to have it aired.

The association had wanted the judge to declare that the series about a suburban New Jersey mafia family, shown on Channel 4 in Britain, breached the "individual dignity" of Italian-Americans.

But, in a reference to the group's acronym, Aida – the name of a Verdi opera – he wrote in his 11-page ruling: "The aria may be offensive to Verdi, but The Sopranos have the constitutional right to sing."

Tom Yannucci, representing Time Warner, had argued that the show was a popular and critical success and that viewers would not assume from watching it that all Italian-Americans were morally corrupt.