Jay Leno under fire over Mitt Romney Sikh temple gag

Jan 23, 2012

US finds its own ‘Jeremy Clarkson’ as India complains about Golden Temple gag

IT SEEMS it is not just Britain's Jeremy Clarkson who has the ability to offend the rest of the world. American talk show host Jay Leno has followed in his footsteps by prompting India to make an official complaint about one of his jokes.

In a gag on The Tonight Show last week, Leno implied that the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest shrine for Sikhs, was the holiday home of wealthy Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

The joke was not well received among the Sikh community. An online petition has been launched in the US stating that "Jay Leno's racist comments need to be stopped right here". By Monday lunchtime it had more than 2,000 signatures.

A Facebook group called 'Boycott Jay Leno (For Derogatory remarks about Golden Temple)' had almost 3,000 members.

Politicians also waded into the debate, and India's overseas affairs minister Vayalar Ravi said: "It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the Golden Temple.

"Freedom does not mean hurting the sentiments of others," he added.

According to the Press Trust of India, the country's embassy in Washington will complain to the US state department.

The BBC reports: "Mr Romney has faced taxation questions over his huge wealth and many Sikhs are angry the temple has been depicted as a place for the rich."

Earlier this month India diplomats complained to the BBC about the Top Gear Christmas special, filmed in India, saying it contained "cheap jibes" and "tasteless humour". In the show, Clarkson drove around a slum in a car with a toilet in the boot and draped banners on trains complete with slogans such as ‘Eat English muff’.

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