Local critics weren't smiling
White’s hugs would have been unlikely to find recipients. While the show aspires to emulate the success of “The Jersey Shore” and “The Housewives of …” series, the local perception of “Princesses” has somehow sailed right over train-wreck-drama territory and into that of dangerous misinformation. Grace Greene — Grace Byrne when she graduated from Freeport High School in 1969 — came all the way from Key Largo, Fla., to take part in the protest at E.B. Elliot’s.
"I want them to pull the show and shine a positive light on Freeport," Green said. "People here have suffered. Been devastated by a hurricane. That's why there were couches outside. This could affect real estate values."
Seated to Greene’s left was Janet Jones, a 41-year resident and the former director of a youth services agency. “I happen to be Jewish, and I found the show very offensive,” Jones said, expressing the fear that people across the country could get the wrong impression of those who share her ancestry.
Lindsey Orlofsky, a 22-year-old blogger, was not at the protest, but shared Jones’s fears that the show could besmirch the image of Jews. Orlofsky, who lives in Westchester County and who works in marketing in the Washington, D.C., area, compared watching “Princesses Long Island” to watching the horror movie “The Ring.”
Posting on her website lindseyoutloud.com — an entry that was later picked up by the Huffington Post — Orlofsky made the case that the focus of “Princesses” is too important for a throwaway format like reality TV. “This show targets a religion, not just a geographic area or a type of person, like ‘Housewives,’” she told the Herald. “When you take a group that’s already misunderstood and portray it this way, I think it’s bigger than that. My fear is that people will look up to this and want to be this way.”
Bravo Long Island
Inarguably the catchiest critique of “Princesses” came from Nice and Ill, which rapidly produced a song called “Bravo” and performed it at E.B. Elliot’s. The group, comprising three waiters from area restaurants who went to high school together, had attracted more than 55,000 viewers to their YouTube page as of this posting.
“We made the song as a response, and it took off,” explained Mills, 25. “Now you go into the deli and people say, ‘Awesome song.’” The band announced that it would likely perform “Bravo” at its next show, at Sugar in Carle Place (Sugarli.com) on June 20.
Social media protests continue
Although the negative reaction to “Princesses” took root independently in many places across the South Shore and beyond, the Facebook page Boycott Princesses of Long Island has become a de facto register of complaints. Created by Llompart, a Freeporter who owns a Lindenhurst auto repair business with her husband, Robert, the page collects complaints and refutations of the show’s claims about Long Island, and even challenges Bravo higher-ups to kill the program. Llompart and her fellow boycotters have also contacted companies that advertise during the show and urged them to end their support.
As of this posting, the Boycott Princesses page had 4,933 “likes” — nearly double the 2,566 the actual show’s Facebook page had collected. But aside from an apology by White, who claimed to have been “stressed, overwhelmed and not thinking,” during her drive through Freeport, there has been little official reaction to the backlash.
“We haven’t heard from Bravo yet,” said Llompart, “but people are still very upset. If you read some of the comments, the Jewish community is becoming involved as well.” Llompart said that her problems with “Princesses” were legion. “The initial annoyance was the way they depicted Freeport,” she said. “But it’s also the way they rep women on Long Island and women in general. I’m worried that image is being portrayed as what women of this generation should be. That’s a terrible message, that young women should be that way.”
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