The NBC Chicago television station removed from its website within a few hours the content labeling their deities as “weird,” which perturbed Hindus considered “inappropriate.”
A commentary on its website titled “Why a 3-1 Blackhawks Loss Isn’t So Bad,” dated Jan. 25, detailing the ice hockey team Nashville Predators beating Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 in Chicago on Tuesday night, said that Predators were “swallowing up space like some weird Hindu god,” to which Hindus strongly objected.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Reno today, thanked NBC for showing responsibility and maturity for taking quick action and for having an understanding for the hurt feelings of Hindu community. It was a step in the right direction, he added.
Zed, who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement yesterday, said that about one billion Hindus worldwide worshipped their deities almost on a daily basis and labeling them as “weird” was highly hurting their feelings. He had asked for immediate removal of inappropriate words from the NBC Chicago website.
Zed points out that Hindus are for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit. But faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Media should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as media like religion is very powerful.
Zed argued that Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be irrelevantly branded as “weird” while commenting on an ice hockey game. These deities were highly revered in Hinduism, and inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees, Zed stressed.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Zed stated.
Last year also, Hindus were perturbed to see the portrayal of Lord Ganesh as a sex act on NBC’s Saturday Night Live demonstrated by actors Jim Carrey and Kenan Thomson, mocking elephant-headed Lord Ganesh and his trunk in the process, Zed added.
NBC Chicago (WMAQ-TV, channel 5) is owned by NBC (National Broadcasting Company), a division of NBCUniversal headquartered in New York City whose traces go back to 1926. Stephen B. Burke is chief executive officer of NBCUniversal while Larry Wert is president of NBC 5 Chicago. NBCUniversal claims to be one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.