OTT giant Netflix has been slapped with a legal notice in connection with an episode in the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory, which originally premiered on CBS.
In an episode in the second season of the show, one of the four protagonists, Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parsons calls Aishwarya Rai ‘a poor man’s Madhuri Dixit,' while comparing the two actors. Responding to this, Raj Koothrapalli (Kunal Nayyar), says, “Aishwarya Rai is a goddess, by comparison, Madhuri Dixit is a leprous prostitute.”
Mithun Vijay Kumar, who is reportedly an activist, who sent the legal notice, said he was " deeply troubled by the use of a derogatory term" in the show, and sought to hold the streaming platform "accountable."
"It is important to hold companies like Netflix accountable for their actions and to ensure that they are sensitive to the cultural values and sentiments of the communities they serve. I strongly believe that streaming service providers have a responsibility to carefully curate the content that they offer on their platforms," he said in a statement.
It is their duty to ensure that the material they present does not include derogatory, offensive, or defamatory content, he observed.
"I was deeply troubled by the use of a derogatory term in one of the shows on Netflix - Big Bang Theory. This term was used in reference to the acclaimed actress Madhuri Dixit, and it was not only offensive and deeply hurtful but also showed a lack of regard for her dignity,” his statement read.
He said it is important that streamings platforms take such issues seriously and address instances of offensive or defamatory content and added that platforms should be proactive in preventing such content from being streamed.
"Ultimately, streaming services have a significant influence over the content that is consumed by millions of individuals, and with this influence comes a responsibility to ensure that the content they offer is respectful, inclusive, and free from harmful stereotypes," he said.