Netflix has received a legal notice over a joke featured in The Big Bang Theory. The notice demands that Netflix removes the episode featuring the joke from their streaming service, and additionally, removes any other such films and shows that might feature similar derogatory language.
The joke was featured in the first episode of The Big Bang Theory Season 2. The episode, titled The Bad Fish Padarigm, has a moment where Kunal Nayyar’s Raj references two popular Bollywood actors.
Raj continues to call Aishwarya Rai a “goddess,” but then becomes derogatory towards Madhuri Dixit, calling her a “leprous prostitute” by comparison. It was this particular joke that made social activist and author Mithun Vijay Kumar so upset.
Here’s a tweet shared by Kumar who posted a copy of the legal notice as penned by their legal representative:
Recently, I came across an episode of the show Big Bang Theory on Netflix where Kunal Nayyar’s character uses an offensive and derogatory term to refer to the legendary Bollywood actress @MadhuriDixit. As a fan of Madhuri Dixit since childhood, I was deeply disturbed by the… pic.twitter.com/pvRCKd5Ne4
— Mithun Vijay Kumar (@MVJonline) March 22, 2023
They explained personally in their post why this joke was so offensive:
“Recently, I came across an episode of the show Big Bang Theory on Netflix where Kunal Nayyar’s character uses an offensive and derogatory term to refer to the legendary Bollywood actress @MadhuriDixit,” Kumar begins. “As a fan of Madhuri Dixit since childhood, I was deeply disturbed by the dialogue. I found it highly derogatory and offensive towards Indian culture and women.”
“So I asked my lawyer to send a legal notice to Netflix, requesting that they remove the episode from their platform. It’s important to hold media companies accountable for the content they distribute, and I hope that @NetflixIndia will take this matter seriously.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that The Big Bang Theory has been criticized for having a controversial sense of humor. But it will be interesting to see what kind of impact this legal notice has, if at all.
Netflix has not yet responded to the notice, and as such, it’s unknown if they’ll take any action. Stay tuned to ScreenGeek for additional updates as we have them.