Although the first episode of Brooklyn 11223 has yet to air, the new Oxygen reality show portraying a partying bunch of 20-somethings from Bay Ridge and the nearby neighborhoods of Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Bensonhurst, has already made some powerful local enemies.
At a February 24 press conference organized by City Councilmember Vincent Gentile at Beyond Dance, 8717 Third Avenue, State Senator Diane Savino stood in front of several dozen local women protesting the show, and called for a boycott of local businesses that allow Brooklyn 11223 cameras.
If you allow this show to come in and to film in your place of business so that somewhere in Nebraska, someone is watching the show and this is what they think of Bay Ridge and this is what they think of Italian-American women, were not going to frequent your restaurants anymore, Savino said. Were not going to frequent your clubs. Were not going to reward you for your bad behavior.
Carlo Scissura, senior advisor to Borough President Marty Markowitz, voiced his support for the ban.
If a show is filming at one of the restaurants, stop going there, period, Scissura said. If a show is coming out here and theyre wrecking streets or taking up parking spots, call the police. Dont be shy. These women are certainly not shy.
Although a spokesperson from the Oxygen network confirmed the program has 19 total cast members, Brooklyn 11223 reportedly focuses on a feud between Joey Lynn Tekulve, 24, and Christie Livoti, 22, which began when Tekulve seduced Livotis boyfriend three years ago.
Scissura was shocked that the show was produced by cable network Oxygen.
What amazes me is the hypocrisy of this network, he said. This is a network that brands itself as looking out for the interests of women and yet they do something that completely disparages women.
Oxygen refused this publications offer to respond Savinos ban, instead issuing this statement: Viewers can decide for themselves on March 26, when the story of Brooklyn 11223 begins to unfold and we meet this authentic group of friends set against the vibrant backdrop of the great and diverse Borough of Brooklyn.
And in a February 21 exclusive interview, Brooklyn 11223 Executive Producer Michael Hirschorm brushed aside fears of a local backlash similar to what Jersey Shore experienced back in 2010.
I dont think its that kind of show, Hirschorm said.
Although he acknowledged that some neighborhood residents may not like what they see, he argues that the show strives for accuracy.
Anytime you shoot in a neighborhood people are concerned about the portrayal, he said. Everything we do as a company is done with respect for the area.
But Gentile points out that respect begins with an accurate zip code.
To start off with, the producers dont even get the zip code right, he said incredulously. 11223 is not Bay Ridge and we all know that, right? So thats the first clue that the portrayal is way off-base.
Gentile adds that the shows portrayal of local residents, as seen in several short promotional clips, brings negative national attention to the entire borough.
This type of show isnt just bad for Bay Ridge, its bad for all of Brooklyn, he said.
State senatorial candidate Andrew Gounardes says he doesnt even recognize his neighborhood as it is portrayed in previews of the show.
This isnt the Bay Ridge I know or I grew up in, he said.
This publication was first to break the news of an Oxygen reality show filming in Bay Ridge back in October, when the program was entitled Brooklyn Crew.