On January 8, 2011, in a skit on SNL entitled "The Wrath of Ganesh," Jim Carrey playing an erotic shaman Lee Licious and Kenan Thomson as Grady Wilson, demonstrated a sexual technique, mocking elephant-headed Lord Ganesh and his trunk in the process. The tag line of episode 1587 "Grady Wilson's Tantric N'Tasty" said that Grady traveled the world to find new sexual techniques to spice up the bedroom.
Such trivialization of Lord Ganesha was disturbing and offensive to the one billion Hindus world over, Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said, and requested NBC to immediately remove it from all its websites and other links. He also asked Golden Globe winner actor-comedian Jim Carrey, actor-comedian Kenan Thomson, NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker, and SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels to publicly apologize for it and urged them not to inappropriately drag Hindu deities to advance the commercial or other agenda in the future.
Lord Ganesha is not only the favorite deity of the Hindus but also of many Hollywood celebrities. Actress-director Goldie Hawn is known to revere Lord Ganesha, actress Olivia Hussey possesses an extensive collection of his statues, actress Kelli Williams considers him as her favorite, while writer-director Tracey Jackson wears Lord Ganesha necklace. In Bollywood, the world's largest film industry, most of the productions start with invoking Lord Ganesha.
Reactions from Religious Leaders and Organizations
The Forum for Hindu Awakening has called it a "grave denigration" and "vulgar mockery of Sri Ganesha", appealing devout Hindus worldwide to protest against it.
Highly revered United Methodist Pastor Reverend Dr. Tom Butler said: “SNL has fallen to a new low in terms of program quality with its use of a Hindu deity to present what would be considered in most communities in the US and around the world to be an obscene ‘lesson’ on sexual positions for use in the bedroom. The entire segment was in exceptionally poor taste, but the reference to the Hindu deity, Lord Ganesha, goes beyond poor taste; it appears to be a direct insult and intentional offense to those whose religious beliefs and practices revere Lord Ganesha. An apology from the producer of the show to the Hindu people who were subjected to it is clearly due.”
American Jewish leader Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer said: "Portrayal of a religious group's deity in a form that is condescending and low is a serious affront to the many Hindus who worship Ganesha... Jim Carrey, NBC and others responsible for lampooning Hindu Lord Ganesha should provide public apologies."
American Buddhist Minister 'Jikai' Phil Bryan, said: "Television producers and filmmakers, in such powerful mediums, can be more understanding of the pain they may cause in handling faith related subjects if they do more research on such sacred figures as Lord Ganesha... All of us in America are for free speech, but such faith is so precious and sacred that ignorant mocking and satirical display is very painful for devotees."
Director of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Annabelle Younger, said: "It would be to your benefit and the honorable deed for you to publicly offer an apology to those millions of people who worship Ganesha". She described "Tantric N'Tasty" skit on Ganesha as "extremely offensive and completely tasteless". "Obviously none of you have any understanding of who Ganesha is or how he is honored and respected by all those who follow the ancient Vedic traditions of India", Younger added.
Swami Pooja Saraswati, a well respected spiritual leader, called this SNL skit "disgusting". "I condemn such outrageous degradation of consciousness," she said.
Rajan Zed welcomed Hollywood and other entertainment industries to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not just for indecorous showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees.What do you think? Please post your comments.