New York City, NY — The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations
(COPOMIAO) has denounced the decision of the New York Times’ Ad Acceptability Team to not
run an advertisement promoting the Italian American community’s stance on current rhetoric
against Christopher Columbus in advance of the Columbus Day holiday on October 11.
The ad, which was to appear on Monday, September 27, in the New York Times, as well as the
Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, sought to dispel claims against Columbus that have
been promoted by opponents of statues and celebrations in his honor. These claims include
accusing Columbus of racism as well as mistreatment and enslavement of the native tribes he
encountered. Both Wall Street Journal and Washington Post will run the advertisement in
question on the planned publication date.
In their response to COPOMIAO, the New York Times provided incorrect information regarding
Columbus’s treatment of Native Americans that has been disproven by several scholars on the
subject. The response also incorrectly stated that Columbus Day observances cannot be linked
to the 1891 lynching of 11 Italian Americans in New Orleans, despite evidence to the contrary.
“Many Italian Americans believe that The New York Times has a lengthy history of insensitivity
toward our community,” said Basil M. Russo, president, Conference of Presidents of Major
Italian American Organizations. “This began with an editorial applauding the 1891 lynching of 11
Italian immigrants and continues to this day with the Times’ unwillingness to allow our
community the opportunity to defend our history and heritage.”
COPOMIAO urges Americans of all races and ethnicities to examine the current discussions
surrounding Christopher Columbus, especially the misinformation that has been promoted in
recent years due to works such as Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. For
more information and to view the Columbus ad in question, visit www.copomiao.org/history.
Interviews with Basil Russo, president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American
Organizations, are available upon request.
About the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations
The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO),
headquartered in New York City, represents 50 of the largest and most influential fraternal,
educational, and anti-defamation organizations in the Italian American community. Its primary
mission is to preserve and promote the heritage, history, culture and values of Italian Americans
for the benefit of current and future generations. For more information, visit www.copomiao.org
(An interview we did last year with the late Dr. Frank Mazzaglia of the Italian American Alliance