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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Community News
‘Princesses L.I.’ is familiar Bravo shtick
Bellmore-Merrick residents react to stereotyping, squabbling and self-absorption
Bravo TV
Erica Gimbel, left, and Amanda Bertoncini, two of the stars of "Princesses Long Island."

Somewhere between the flashes of wealth, prideful professions of parental dependency, Jewish cultural caricatures and frequent debauchery, acrimony and hysteria, a picture of young Jewish women on Long Island emerges on “Princesses Long Island,” the Bravo TV show that debuted on June 2, and it isn’t flattering. In their late 20s and early 30s, the stars, Bellmore-Merrick residents say, are immature and spoiled, and that is not how they see the overwhelming majority of Jewish women.

“Princesses Long Island” has produced an outpouring of ire and criticism on Long Island and beyond. The Herald solicited the opinions of a wide range of local people and did not receive any that reflected positively on “Princesses.”

That is not to say that the show does not have its fans. It debuted to 1.24 million TV viewers, and has garnered 730,000 to 920,000 viewers per episode since then. “Princesses” is also a hot topic in traditional and social media, especially since the show cost two schoolteachers — including Merrick Avenue Middle School health teacher Stefan Serie — their jobs for appearing on it, and an episode included a scene in which a cast member, Amanda Bertoncini, participated in a photo shoot that used a statue memorializing a firefighter killed on 9/11 as a prop to promote her beverage-holder product.

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from Huntington, wrote in a June 19 Huffington Post op-ed piece that the show’s characters “fuel anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

“I will not silently tolerate a show that paints Jewish women on Long Island with all-too-familiar and painful stereotypes — money-hungry, superficial, Jewish-American princesses,” Israel wrote.

The Anti-Defamation League, a U.S.-based international organization that identifies itself as a “civil rights/human relations agency” that “fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry,” did not go as far as Israel in its criticism of “Princesses,” but took issue with the show’s title.

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