Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of MTV’s Jersey Shore fame, and his family opened a tanning salon in Middletown yesterday.
MMM is not in the habit of giving free advertising to people who drive Lamborghinis, and the company did not respond to our ad pitch, so we did not cover the ribbon cutting.
Gerry Scharfenberger is the only member of Middletown’s Township Committee of non-Italian American descent. Gerry did the honors at the ribbon cutting and said the right things.
“The goal is always to fill vacant storefronts, so whenever that happens it is a positive thing,” he said. “And if the star power they have is able to help them and the other businesses here, that’s even better.”
But the expressions on Gerry’s face in the pictures at NJ.com tell another story, which prompted MMM to look further into the situation.
Why wasn’t Mayor Stephanie Murray presiding on the high profile ribbon cutting? She finds the situation offensive.
“While I wish the business success for the sake of the existing businesses in the shopping center, I don’t personally support Mr. Sorrentino as his insensitivity and disrespect toward women (calling women “grenades” for example), is appalling and offensive, Murray said, “Additionally, as an Italian-American who loves and lives at the Jersey shore, the image Mr. Sorrentino projects is equally offensive.”
Committeeman Tony Fiore is also not happy with the situation.
“While Mr. Sorrentino has the right to open a business anywhere he chooses, Mr. Sorrentino has done nothing to help promote a positive image of the Jersey shore or Italians who live or visit the Jersey shore,” Fiore said, “In my view no self respecting Italian who grew up in NJ, lives at or loves the Jersey shore would help promote his business. While I wish him like any other business in Middletown success, he shouldn’t expect Middletown to embrace the circus that he is bringing to the Middletown.”
Fiore and other Middletown officials were caught off guard by Sorrentino’s announcement that he intends to film a reality TV show at the tanning facility, thus the “circus” the committeeman reverenced. Fiore said he is looking into the permitting required, if any, for television production in the township.
Additionally, Fiore said there were multiple complaints from grocery shoppers at the Shop Rite that shares the mall where the tanning salon is located, that parking was difficult during the tanning salon’s grand opening. Debbie Durante, manager of the Shop Rite said she received no complaints and wasn’t aware of an impact the grand opening had on yesterday’s receipts.
USA Today-Monmouth/Ocean reported that the business endeavor is part of Sorrentino’s recovery from drug addiction.
He said that this year was finally the right time to take on running a business, after battling drug addiction and his bad boy image.
“I got a second chance to continue to pursue my dreams — on and off the screen,” he said.
If Sorrentino, a Monmouth County resident, were to use his celebrity to help Monmouth County and all of New Jersey battle the heroin, molly and ecstasy epidemic, he would find the community much more supportive of his dreams.