US comedian Jay Leno was sued for a religious joke that he made during a recent skit, says the Daily Mail. The lawsuit was filed by the Indian-American Randeep Dhillon on Tuesday because in his opinion, Leno has hurt the feelings of all Sikh people. The lawsuit which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks unspecified damages.
Jay Leno has recently described the Golden Temple as the summer home of the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The GOP member was often criticized in debates because he doesn’t want to make his wealth public to US citizens. Consequently, Leno jibed the whole situation by telling his viewers that the shrine is part of the candidate’s wealth. Dhillon, on the other hand, thinks the jibe is offensive because people will think the temple is a place for the rich.
The discussion reached the ears of an Indian minister who also disapproved Leno’s joke. He declared that freedom of speech does not necessarily mean that you can hurt other people’s feelings. Despite this, the US state department defended Jay Leno by stating that the US Constitution protects the freedom of speech.
Mr. Dhillon wrote in his petition that Leno exposed the Sikhs and their religion beliefs to mockery. Apparently, the petition is in keeping with many Sikhs’ opinions who expressed their discontent with Leno’s jibe on the Internet. The US Sikh group launched an online petition against the TV show host. They even requested the US government to take measures against the racist and the derogatory behavior of the NBC channel.
US state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland officially stated that Leno’s comments are constitutionally correct. Moreover, she reassured the TV host that his satirical remarks are protected in the United Sates under the free speech. However, Nuland further stated that the US and the President Barack Obama strongly support all Indians including Sikhs. Moreover, Obama was the first president to celebrate the birthday of the religion’s founder, Guru Nanak, at the White House.
The press was not able to get a response from Jay Leno. It remains to be seen how the TV host will tackle the subject in his show.