Leno-gate has now hit Fox news channel’s Bill O’Reilly and Gretchen Carlson. You will remember Gretchen Carlson from her diatribe that lamented the “killing” of Christmas at a Stockton, California elementary school on account of the presence of America’s oldest Gurdwara in that city (“those people”, as she put it).
Without going into a litany of complaints about the stereotypes discussed in O’Reilly’s interview on the Fox News program “The O’Reilly Factor”, (such as: sued by an “Indian”, Californians are too litigious and over-sensitive, comparisons with Muslims and depictions of Mohammed etc.), some of the commentary was simply objectionable, and it is further evidence that the fallout from our over-reaction to Leno’s joke has only done Sikhs a disservice.
One of the worst elements in the O’Reilly interview was Carlson’s assertion that the Sikh physician who is suing Jay Leno over his depiction of Darbar Sahib was for the purpose of getting attention for our faith in America:
Carlson admitted that she “defends Christianity” (Ya think!) but “that it’s a fine line.” She then launched into some possible Sikh bashing with her accusation that the Sikh litigant was doing this “to get attention” because “it’s not a very well known religion across America.” She added that more people “will hear about” the religion as a result of the publicity surrounding the suit.
This is certainly not the kind of “attention” we need nor desire. Sikhs have been trying to educate the American public on who we are and particularly so in the last decade, and now what most people know is the action of one person who decided to take legal recourse.
So, Ms. Carlson, you could not be more mistaken nor appear more foolish. And, let me also add, O’Reilly’s reference to Islamic extremists was repulsive.
Sadly, this story continues to sink to lower depths.