Jay Leno has been sued by a Bakersfield, CA man offended by a joke about a sacred Sikh temple that Leno told in his "Tonight Show" monologue last Thursday. In the joke, Leno mocked GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney by comparing his home to India's Harmandir Sahib, better known as the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
TMZ reports that Dr. Randeep Dhillon, a Sikh living in Bakersfield, is suing for general and punitive damages, claiming that Leno "falsely portrays the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh."
The monologue joke, which was intended to poke fun at Romney's extreme wealth, cut to a photo of the temple with a voiceover saying, ""Here's a look at Mitt Romney's summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee," after showing other Republicans' modest homes.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that many Sikhs were offended by the joke on Monday, citing a Facebook group calling for Leno's boycott over the joke that has reached over 4,000 members. According to the Journal, the matter will be addressed by India’s Ambassador to the U.S., Nirupama Rao. The BBC also reported that Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said the joke was "quite unfortunate and quite objectionable."
A petition was also launched to discourage NBC and other networks from using the Sikh religion as a punchline.
NBC has made no comment about the joke.
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