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Sammy the Bull


It’s official. The world is probably about to end. Mob WivesKaren Gravano’s book Mob Daughter, is currently number 18 on the New York Times bestseller list of hardcover nonfiction tomes. I kid, I kid…not about her achievement as an “author” but about the world ending. It can’t. I am still on the first installment of the Hunger Games, so the world is going to have to stick around long enough for me to read Karen’s book. And that could take years. And years.

Unfortunately, as it is with everyone who seeks fame, the backlash comes as quickly as the love. After hearing that some folks are boycotting an upcoming Barnes & Noble appearance to promote her book, SILive.com is reporting that Karen understands the discontent. After all, she’s a victim too, y’all. She claims to be on the same side of those who believe she is profiting off her father (Sammy the Bull)’s bad behavior (to put it mildly).

In an interview with Advance, Karen claims, “I’m on their side. I’ve said they were victims of this lifestyle, and the decisions that our fathers chose.” She continues, “I also lost a [my uncle] to this, so I just think it’s actually insulting at this point that they can sit there and call themselves victims but they don’t consider the loss that I felt — or the things that I went through because my father is Sammy the Bull.”

She’s referring to her father, Salvatore Gravano, who was known as Sammy the Bull. Sammy served as an underboss of the infamous Gambino crime family. He later turned tables and became an informant, sending John Gotti to federal prison until his death. Her book chronicles her life growing up on Staten Island and learning at young age about her father’s crime-spreeing ways.

As for people who think her book profits are blood money, Karen cites that no one seems to blame the Gotti Mafioso for their crimes. She believes her critics are solely focused on her father. She tells Advance, “I’m starting to become a little skeptical. Are they mad that he killed their fathers, or are they mad that [my father] cooperated?”

From there, Karen makes a bit of stretch. I know she probably wasn’t thinking fully about what she was saying, so I’ll give her a pass, but she compared the families of said mobsters to those who suffered on 9/11. If you think I’m wrong, please call me out, but that’s how I took her following statement. She says, “I never said families are not the victims — I will not say the men are victims. The people in 9/11 are victims. When you walk into something like that and you don’t know it’s going to happen, then you’re a victim.”

Karen does concede that her father has gotten what he deserves and is paying his dues. Rightfully, his situation doesn’t cause her to think any less of him. She admits, “I can’t help that I love my father, the same way that they love their fathers,” she said. “All of them chose the wrong path in their lives, the men.”

By “they,” Karen means others in the lifestyle who have profited off books which detail their stories. While she calls them “hypocrites” Karen is quick to state, “I didn’t write this book to have fights with them. I wrote this book to shed light on the life I went through.”

Karen also discusses her three years’ probation after pleading guilty in Arizona to helping her father sell ecstasy. She even claims her father’s past as her reasoning to seek criminal involvement. Karen cites the leniency she received in her youth from law enforcement for being Sammy the Bull’s daughter. That, coupled with the reaction to her father becoming an informant, shaped her behavior.

“I felt like you only get respect when you’re bad,” Karen asserts. “It made me feel like I want to be bad, and I turned my life over to crime.”

She continues, reasoning, “It made me who I am. I know why I made my decisions. I know why I did it. I don’t put blame on anyone else. I didn’t say, ‘I’m going to deal drugs because my father hurt me.’ I’m going to deal drugs because it’s a choice that I made.”

As for her involvement on Mob Wives, she is adamant that the idea for the book came before the show. When asked about the over-the-talk drama we see every Sunday night, Karen explains, “When we do scenes or we do shows where we’re not bickering, people find them boring.”

Furthermore, Karen defends a past comment relating Staten Island to the “breeding ground for the Mafia.” She counters, “That’s what I’ve seen. I didn’t mean the whole entire Staten Island. I think that if anything, we’re not representing a borough, we’re representing ourselves.” Staten Island thanks you for clarifying.

As for her father, Karen is quick to admit that she felt “betrayed and hurt” when he cooperated with the FBI. Her book, she hopes, is about family, saying, “I was looking at it as a little girl whose father just left her.”

Karen hopes that her true supporters will view the book in light of how she has persevered. “How can I take this and spin it into a positive, where it can work for me, instead of against me, for the rest of my life?” Karen ponders.

“I can’t deny who I am,” she continues. “I’m a hustler and if I’m hungry and if there’s food in front of me I’m going to take it and eat it.” And by food, she means Drita.

[Photo Credit: D. Salters/WENN.com]

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF KAREN’S INTERVIEW? IS SHE A VICTIM OR IS SHE PROFITING ON HER FATHER’S WRONGDOING? WILL YOU BE READING HER BOOK?

Renee Graziano and son AJ PaganMob Wives Karen

It seems Mob Wives star Renee Graziano is still working hard to break away from the mob princess mentality. This was witnessed on the most recent episode of the show when Renee called her ex-husband Hector Pagan Jr aka Junior for back up after a bar patron insulted her.

In a new interview with the HollywoodLife, Renee opens up about wanting to create a better lifestyle for both her and her 17-year-old son AJ Pagan, adding that AJ has inspired her to want to change. “I wouldn’t want my son to go to jail,” Renee says. “AJ is going in a completely different direction. He’s going to make himself a better life.”

Renee adds that she is tired of seeing AJ go through the heartaches of the mob lifestyle such as watching his father Junior possibly get locked up again. “It breaks me emotionally,” explains Renee. “Watching your child feel pain makes you angry, very angry. It’s probably harder than anything anyone has to do.”

Renee states that raising AJ has given her strength to become more independent. “I lived an empty life,” she admits. Now, “I’m trying to change my life and define myself outside of the way I was brought up.” Renee also adds that her renewed friendship with co-star Karen Gravano is helping her leave her old ways behind.

And speaking of Karen, she is now clearing up the rumor that she was ever in a witness protection program, which was sort of insinuated on the show no? Also talking to the HollywoodLife, Karen reveals that unlike her father Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano — former Gambino family underboss turned FBI informant — she was never in the witness protection program.

“People have it confused,” Karen says. “The way it was, this was my father’s life, it didn’t have to do with me. I didn’t understand why he cooperated, he felt John betrayed him. I thought it wasn’t my life. I was going to stand on my own — that’s why I didn’t go into witness protection.”

Karen then explains why she moved away from New York to Arizona. “I moved to Arizona because my family was there and I thought it was a better way to raise Karina,” Karen says of her daughter. “And my brother [Gerard Gravano] was in prison, so I helped raise his son as well.”

Karen states, “When my father got out of prison, he went into witness protection for eight months and moved to Arizona and joined my family… I was very reluctant to leave New York, [but] I missed my family and was fed up with the lifestyle in NYC. I moved there in 1997.”

As revealed on the show, Karen is now back living in Staten Island to both work on her book and clear her name.

Meanwhile, Mob Wives is proving to be a big hit for the ailing VH1 network. The premiere brought in close to 2 million viewers and the show continues to average a healthy 1.33 million viewers a week.

TELL US – DO YOU THINK RENEE WILL BE ABLE TO BREAK AWAY FROM THE MOB LIFESTYLE?

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