Jay Leno sued over Golden Temple remark
New York: US talk show host Jay Leno has
been sued by an Indian-American in California for his "racist"
comments on the Golden Temple and ridiculing the entire Sikh
community by portraying the holy shrine as a vacation home.
According to court papers filed in Los Angeles Superior
Court, Randeep Dhillon claims that Leno "hurt the sentiments
of all Sikh people in addition to those of the plaintiff" with
his joke that the Golden Temple could be a possible summer
home of Mitt Romney, a leading Republican presidential
The celebrity website TMZ said Dhillon has filed a libel
suit and is seeking unspecified damages.
The suit adds that 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
It said this is not the first time that Leno has
ridiculed the Sikh community.
"Previously, in 2007 he called Sikhs 'diaper heads.'
Clearly, Jay Leno's racist comments need to be stopped right
here," the suit added.
In more trouble for the TV host, a Sikh rights group here
has lodged a complaint with a federal agency demanding action
be taken against Leno and NBC channel for airing the "racist
and derogatory" depiction of the Golden Temple.
Sikhs for Justice has filed its complaint with regulator
Federal Communications Commission against Leno and NBC.
FCC is tasked with regulating the broadcast of television
programmes, analysing complaints and conducting
In a letter to Joel Gurin, Bureau Chief, Consumer &
Governmental Affairs Bureau at FCC, SFJ said "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".
SFJ has demanded that sanctions be imposed against Leno
and NBC for spreading racism and ridiculing a place of
SFJ Legal Advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said while
freedom of speech should be valued and protected, it should
not be made a tool to ridicule a religion.
Pannun also pointed out that Leno had previously shown
disrespect to Sikhs in 2007 by calling them 'diaper heads'.
He added that Leno's wrongful depiction of the Golden
Temple is "more hurtful to the sentiments of the Sikh
community because any disrespectful or derogatory remark about
Golden Temple brings back the tormenting memories of June 1984
Operation Blue Star."
SFJ will be holding a protest rally on February 2 in
front of NBC Headquarters in New York demanding that the
channel sack Leno.
India has strongly objected to Leno's remark, with NRI
Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi directing Indian Ambassador to
the US Nirupama Rao to take up the matter with the State
In turn, the US defended Leno's right to free speech and
has termed his comments as "satirical".