So, last week, comedian Jay Leno made a joke about Mitt Romney’s wealth.
He illustrated the gag by showing a picture of the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, and claimed it was Romney’s “summer home”.
You might have noticed that the use of the photograph of this rather grand building has occasioned … fury:
State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the US had not communicated with India on the issue but that the US Constitution strictly protected freedom of speech.
“I hope [Leno will] be appreciative if we make the point that his comments are constitutionally protected in the United States under free speech and, frankly, they appeared to be satirical in nature,” Ms Nuland told reporters.
She said the US had “absolute respect” for all Indians, including Sikhs, and that President Barack Obama was the first president to celebrate the birthday of the religion’s founder, Guru Nanak, at the White House.
“Our view is obviously that Sikh Americans have contributed greatly to the United States,” she said.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi had earlier said: “It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the Golden Temple.”
Followed by the inevitable doomed court case:
A lawsuit has been filed in California suing US comedian Jay Leno for what it calls “racist” comments on the Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
Indian-American Randeep Dhillon says Leno “hurt the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to the plaintiff”.
…Mr Dhillon filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, seeking unspecified damages.
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”, Mr Dhillon said in his petition.
Earlier, a US Sikh group launched an online petition over Leno’s comment, also accusing the comedian of making previous derogatory remarks about Sikhs.
Still, at least we’re immune from this sort of silliness in the United Kingdom, right?
Er – no:
JAY LENO’S COMMENTS ON THE GOLDEN TEMPLE
Date tabled: 25.01.2012
That this House notes with concern the sketch on the NBC Jay Leno Show where the most sacred Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, was disrespected by Jay Leno when it was referred to as GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s summer home; expresses concern and regret that this depiction of the Golden Temple as a home of the rich shows a complete misunderstanding of the Sikh faith and is derogatory to Sikhs across the world; believes that these comments are not acceptable to all those who believe in respect for all religions; calls on Jay Leno and NBC to apologise to all Sikhs for this disrespectful depiction of the Golden Temple; and further calls on the Government to make representations to the US government that while recognising principles of freedom of speech there should be more understanding and respect shown to the Sikh faith.
And which of our Parliamentarians have signed up to this bollocks?
Why step forward:
Primary sponsor: Sharma, Virendra
Sponsors: McDonnell, John
Pity John McDonnell didn’t win the leadership of the Labour Party, eh?
Oh this is even better. MORE MPs have signed this effing cretinous EDM.
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Alan Meale MP
… and of course, the friend of Hezbollah,
And from the Tories – who else but Peter Bottomley MP!