Jay Leno is being sued by a Sikh organizer following a joke he made last week involving the Sri Darbar Sahib, a Golden Temple in India. Many Indian leaders have deemed the joke offensive.
On an episode of "The Tonight Show," Leno quipped that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney uses the temple in Amritsar, India, as his summer home. Indian leaders were not amused, and are now suing the late night talk show host, claiming he libeled the Sikh religion with his dig.
TheWrap obtained court papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday by Dr. Randeep Dhillon of Bol Punjabi All Regions Community Organization, claiming that Leno "hurt the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to those of the plaintiff."
According to Dhillon, 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."
Another Sikh group has launched an online petition against Leno, saying that the host has a well-documented history of making prejudice comments on the Sikh religion.
"Previously, in 2007 he called Sikhs 'diaper heads.' In 2010, he remarked, falsely so, in his monolog that President Obama could not visit Sri Darbar Sahib because of requirements of wearing a turban," the petition reads. "Clearly, Jay Leno's racist comments need to be stopped right here."
"There's a lot of other things to make fun of in this world. Why he picks something over someone's religion or beliefs. NBC needs to take action against him," one person who signed the petition wrote.
Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi has also objected to Leno's remarks and directed Indian ambassador to the U.S., Nirupama Rao, to address the matter with the State Department.
"It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the...Golden Temple," Ravi told the Press Trust of India. "Golden Temple is Sikh community's most sacred place. Even our Prime Minister went there for praying in the New Year."
Dhillon is seeking unspecified damages and court costs in his libel suit, MSN reported.