Nicole Polizzi, whom you may remember by her nickname, “Snooki,” is about to become the only former cast member of MTV’s Jersey Shore to have a law named for her, and not in a good way.
As USA Today reports, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Republican colleague, Assemblyman John DiMaio, has been trying for seven years to get the so-called “Snooki Law” passed. And as Christie’s term as Governor nears its end, DiMaio believes he may finally have the votes to get the law on the books.
So what has Snooki done that has gotten the ire of New Jersey Republicans? Back in 2011, Polizzi hosted a Q & A with the graduating class at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. For her appearance, she was paid an honorarium of $32,000 — reportedly $2,000 more than Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, who had given a commencement address that year.
During her appearance, according to a True Jersey report from the time, Snooki emceed a “Situation” contest to see which male student had the best abs; brought students on stage to teach them the Jersey Shore fist bump; introduced her dad, whom she described as “a retired Guido;” and encouraged the students to use Aussie hair products to volumize their coiffs.
“Smells good and stays in good.”
This rubbed DiMaio the wrong way and led to the introduction of the Snooki Bill, which aims to limit the amount of public money (Rutgers is a public university) speakers at universities can receive for appearances to $10,000.
“When somebody gets paid $32,000 to say ‘Work hard and party harder,’ it gives one pause. This is a message to all the state universities: Be prudent about who you’re inviting.”
Asm. John DiMaio & Asw. Maria Rodriguez-Gregg arrive to escort Gov. Chris Christie into the Assembly chamber for his budget message. pic.twitter.com/gl9O8kzkUB
— NJ Assembly GOP (@NJAssemblyGOP) February 28, 2017
Chris Christie, for his part, has never been a fan of Snooki or Jersey Shore, repeating multiple times that it gives a bad image of the Garden State; is less “reality” and more manipulated and creatively-edited; and features “carpetbaggers from New York” rather than actual kids from New Jersey (only two of the eight featured cast members were born and raised in New Jersey).
Still, that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily on board with the Snooki Bill and indeed seems ambivalent about it at best.
“This is what happens when you have a part-time Legislature that is looking for things to do. I’ve got much bigger issues to be concerned about in a state with a $35 billion budget, with all the different challenges and opportunities we have, than to be worried about micromanaging what universities in the state decide to pay their commencement speakers.”
As of this writing, Polizzi hasn’t publicly commented on the bill named for her.
Meanwhile, ever since the Jersey Shore mania wound down, Snooki has gone from being a hard-partying bad girl to a successful businesswoman and mother. After being arrested for disorderly conduct in 2010, according to The Sun, Snooki settled down. She married Jonni LaVelle, had two kids; Lorenzo and Giovanna; wrote three books (New York Times bestseller A Shore Thing, Confessions of a Guidette, and Gorilla Beach); and has started her own fashion line, The Snooki shop. She’s also been hitting the gym, getting rid of her characteristic pudge for muscle.
— gabriella gillern (@gabbygillern) March 23, 2017
By the way, in case you weren’t aware: for all of her talk about Guidos and Guidettes, there’s nothing Italian, biologically, about Snooki. She was born in Chile and adopted by an Italian-American family, who raised her in New York.
[Featured Image by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Vivienne Hu]