Karen Gravano and her daughter Karina Seabrook are not bothered at all by the backlash surrounding their new show on MTV, Made In Staten Island. The show follows a handful of young adults, some with mob family connections. The group tries to stay out of trouble as they live their lives in Staten Island. Karen is producing the show, and her daughter is one of the series regulars. Karen starred on Mob Wives and although the reality shows have similarities, they are not the same. Karen’s father, Karina’s grandfather, Salvatore Gravano, AKA ‘Sammy The Bull’ was a former Gambino crime family under boss who infamously testified against mob boss John Gotti. Not everyone is on board with this new reality show, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio,
Mayor de Blasio even took to Twitter and said the show is “peddling stereotypes in a shameless ratings grab.” A petition on Change.org has been created to have the show canceled, or to have the borough removed from the title. It has received over 8,000 signatures so far. Karen told Fox News, “So many people out there are so judgmental, and they want to judge, whether it’s an individual or a television show before they even get to know the people. And this show is actually anything but glorifying. You see kids that are actually going through everyday struggles and trying to overcome adversity. They’re trying to overcome the stigma of situations that their families have been put into.”
Karen said, “We’re not trying to represent a whole Italian-American community or stereotype anyone. If I came out and tried to do a television show about Staten Island and everything was a bed of roses that would be false. Because in life, no matter where you go, there are definitely struggles and trials and tribulations that everyone has to go through in life.” Karina said that she received the downside of “the lifestyle.”
Karina explained, “Growing up, I never had the relationship with my grandfather that I wished I could have had. Because all my memories were going to visit him in different prisons and jails. And he was always away. I could never just pick up the phone and call him for advice, or anything. And he was missing at holidays. I never looked at him as anything else other than my grandfather.” He was released from prison in 2017 after completing a 20-year sentence for overseeing an Arizona ecstasy ring. Apparently he was serving concurrent terms for drug related convictions on federal charges in New York, as well as those state charges in Arizona. He faces lifetime parole and will remain under Arizona supervision until March of 2019.
Karen lived the high life of the mob. She said, “I grew up in the heyday of the mob. Everything about that lifestyle was glorified. And I lived the high life of it. I had nice houses, jewelry, cars, vacations. My daughter Karina lived the downside of it, where she’s visiting family members in prison and had missing people she loved in her life. Not just my father, but her father went to jail, my brother went to jail.” Karen was drawn to that lifestyle. “Growing up, I wanted to be bad because I felt like that’s how you’re accepted,” she said. Karen wants more for her daughter, though. She said, “That’s the way I felt growing up, people respect you when you do wrong. And I’m trying to teach Karina she’s the opposite. When you screw up your life, it affects you for the rest of your life. If there’s anything I want Karina to learn is from my mistakes. I want her to be better.”
Reality television isn’t phasing Karina. She explained, “I’m honestly not nervous at all. I know a lot of reality TV highlights the drama, the going out and the partying but I kinda stay away from all that because of seeing my mom go crazy like that on TV. Even in real life, I don’t even pay attention to drama like that because I’m just the type to laugh at it or brush it off. It’s all irrelevant to me. I know drama is inevitable, but this show is more so what we’re going through. It’s not a lot of drama and fighting.” She added, “It’s not Mob Wives.”
According to Page Six, Karen and Karina recently went to Councilman Joe Borelli’s office in Staten Island on to deliver pizza and “talk about the real issues of Staten Island” after he had tweeted that their show was “embarrassing.”
They also told Page Six that they aren’t bothered about Staten Islanders petitioning the show. Karina said, “We’re not speaking for everybody on Staten Island but everybody has their own story and we’re just the ones to tell our story.” Karen said, “If people don’t want to watch, that’s their choice. Hopefully they do so they can see that there is way more to this show than what people think.”
I’m a fan of Mob Wives, so I’m going to give this show a chance.
Thoughts on the show? Thoughts on what Karen and Karina had to say? Thoughts on the backlash? Sound off below!
Follow the AllAboutTRH Podcast on iTunes & Soundcloud – Remember to Rate, Comment & Subscribe!