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Russian-Americans Fear New Reality Show Will Reinforce, Exploit Stereotypes

18. November 2010 by Christy 0 Comments

Shooting for Brighton Beach has begun, but some members of the Russian-American community aren’t thrilled about Lifetime Network’s new Russian-themed reality show.


According to a local blog, a group of 42 elected officials and Russian activists recently sent a letter to executives at Lifetime Networks, criticizing Brighton Beach’s model, “the highly contentious and ethnically derogatory Jersey Shore,” and asking network executives not to “broadcast a damaging and inaccurate portrayal of New York City’s Russian community.” The group takes issue with the way the entertainment industry regularly portrays residents of Brighton Beach (“thugs, criminals, and outcasts”) and doesn’t want another show with “vodka-drinking ethnic caricatures”. Italian-Americans expressed similar concerns about ethnic stereotypes soon after the release of MTV’s Jersey Shore.


Though Lifetime spokesperson Michael Feeney told the New York Times that Brighton Beach will be “a multigenerational women’s story about life in the community…not a bunch of people put in a house" (like Jersey Shore), and will be “done in the Lifetime voice, not in the MTV voice,” casting calls in March sought crazy, partying types like Snooki and The Situation from Jersey Shore, and co-creator Alina Dizik said the show would contain “plenty of vodka, techno music, and guys wearing Adidas pants.” Perhaps creators toned down the original concept of Brighton Beach?


Executives at Lifetime haven’t commented on the letter or announced when Brighton Beach will hit the airwaves.