Elon Musk’s take on the video game character Wario in the latest episode of “SNL” was no joke to an Italian-American activist group.
The National Italian American Foundation slammed the portrayal of the Italian-accented villain from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. series in a statement released Tuesday.
“In an era of enhanced sensitivity to racial and ethnical stereotyping, Saturday Night Live’s sophomoric Wario skit demonstrates that a profound double standard continues to exist when it comes to ‘acceptable’ caricaturing of Italians in popular culture,” the group’s statement said.
In the skit, Wario takes the stand in a courtroom, accused of murdering Mario. At one point he eats garlic.
“I am not evil, just misunderstood,” Musk says in a faux-accent. “And some of the anti Italian hatred in this courtroom is disgusting.”
A prosecutor objects saying “his accent is really bringing it on himself.”
Later, embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Pete Davidson) shows up and says Wario and he are both misunderstood Italian-Americans. Wario replies he’s actually Japanese.
“Please don’t believe the horrible stereotypes you see in Mario World,” Cuomo says.
“Some of the bad guys are even called Goombas,” he adds, referring to a mushroom-shaped enemy in the videogames.
The skit concludes with a title card and narrator saying “this has been a message from the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League.”
Musk, the billionaire behind SpaceX and Tesla, was one of the rare non actors or athletes to host the show but the show received backlash for the pick.
Ahead of his appearance, some cast members were outraged by his invitation to host the show.