Netflix issued legal notice over 15-year-old episode of The Big Bang Theory that ‘insulted’ Madhuri Dixit

Netflix issued legal notice over 15-year-old episode of The Big Bang Theory that ‘insulted’ Madhuri Dixit

In the notice, political analyst Mithun Kumar claimed that the show that ran from 2007 to 2019 promotes sexism and misogyny.
28 Mar, 2023

Netflix has been sent a legal notice by political analyst Mithun Vijay Kumar in India over defamatory remarks made against Madhuri Dixit in one of the episodes of the popular show The Big Bang Theory.

Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, The Big Bang Theory originally aired on CBS from 2007 to 2019. Even though Netflix did not produce the sitcom, its library includes the show for streaming in countries like India and Pakistan and Kumar wants the streaming service to remove the episode in question from their platform.

In the first episode of the second season titled ‘The Bad Fish Paradigm,’ which aired on September 22, 2008, Jim Parson who plays Sheldon Cooper is shown to have a disagreement with Raj Koothrapalli, played by Kunal Nayyar. While comparing Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit, Sheldon, calls Rai “a poor man’s Madhuri Dixit” to which Raj replies by saying, “Aishwarya Rai is a goddess, by comparison, Madhuri Dixit is a leprous prostitute.”

Kumar demanded that the episode be removed from the streaming platform, calling it both offensive and defamatory. He also claimed the show promotes sexism and misogyny. The analyst expressed that if Netflix does not respond to his demands, he plans on taking further action.

He shared the notice on Twitter and said that he was “deeply disturbed by the dialogue” and “found it highly derogatory and offensive towards Indian culture and women”.

In a statement, he said, “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.

“It is their duty to ensure that the material they present does not include derogatory, offensive, or defamatory content. 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,” he added.

Kumar stressed that “streaming service providers must take such issues seriously and act quickly to address any instances of offensive or defamatory content”. He also argued that streaming services must prevent such content from being aired on their platforms.

“This can be achieved through clear guidelines and rigorous screening processes for all the content published. 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.

“I hope that this incident will serve as a wake-up call to all streaming services providers to work towards creating a more equitable and respectful media landscape,” he said.