US comedian Jay Leno sued over Golden Temple joke

Washington, Jan 25 (IANS) An Indian American has filed a lawsuit in California suing US comedian Jay Leno for what he calls “racist” comments on the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Leno “hurt the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to the plaintiff”, says Randeep Dhillon in his lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday, seeking unspecified damages, according to
A recent Leno skit showed the shrine as the summer home of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who has faced questions over his wealth and Sikhs are angry that the temple was shown as a place for the rich.
Leno’s joke “clearly exposes plaintiff, other Sikhs and their religion to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it falsely portrays the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh”, Dhillon said in his petition.
Indian Deputy Chief of Mission here Arun Kumar Singh met US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake Tuesday and conveyed India’s objection to Leno passing off a visual of the Golden Temple as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vacation home.
The Indian Mission has also written a “strong letter” to NBC, which broadcast Leno’s “The Tonight Show” featuring the joke Thursday.
Meanwhile, US based Sikh group, Sikhs for Justice lodged a complaint with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Leno’s objectionable depiction of Golden Temple.
The SFJ complaint states that “Jay Leno’s depiction of Golden Temple as the home of the rich is racist, derogatory, defamatory, contrary to the reality, inimical to the principles of Sikhism, and thus hurtful to the sentiments of the Sikh community”.
The complaint demands imposition of sanctions against Jay Leno for spreading racism and against NBC for airing contents ridiculing a place of worship.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])