MIAMI – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has condemned a pool cue being marketed by actor Joseph R. Gannascoli, who played the gay character Vito Spatafore on HBO’s “The Sopranos.”
Near the end of the hit series, Vito’s fellow mobsters discover he is gay, beat him to death with pool cues and then sodomize him with one.
Now, Gannascoli, a billiards fan, has authorized his name to be used on a Rockwell Billiards pool stick – branded with the phrase “A Cue to Die For.”
“It’s highly inappropriate that what served as a very real example of the hateful violence the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community faces is now being used as a gimmick to sell a product,” GLAAD President Neil Giuliano said on Monday. “The insensitive inclusion of the pool cue in the ‘To Die For’ marketing theme betrays the legacy of the ‘Sopranos’ character and is unacceptable.”
GLAAD wants Rockwell Billiards and Gannascoli to change the pool cue’s name and apologize immediately.
“I had no idea it would create this sort of uproar,” Gannascoli told the Miami Herald on Tuesday. “This cue has been out for more than a year. I’m considering pulling all the pool cues. I’m a great supporter of the gay community.”
Gannascoli, a one-time chef in New York gay restaurants, said he has marketed lots of products the same way, including “A Cigar to Die For,” “A Sauce to Die For” and “An Olive Oil to Die For.”
Said Gannascoli: “It’s a coincidence that I died from a pool stick and it’s ‘A Cue to Die For.’ “