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‘Mike & Molly’ Indian Joke Angers Navajo Nation

Did Mike & Molly‘s Indian joke cross the line?

The sitcom referred to Native Americans as “drunk Indians” during an episode that aired last week. The joke caused a bit of a controversy for the CBS show as a spokesman for the Navajo Nation has demanded an apology from the network.

Spokesperson Erny Zah said:

“It’s offensive, it’s derogatory, it’s deplorable. Ignorance is one thing, but this must have passed through a lot of eyes before it appeared on a network show … An apology would be appropriate but it can’t fix the damage done.”

According to ABC, the joke occurred after Mike’s mother Peggy was asked about moving to Arizona.

Peggy, who is played by Rondi Reed, replied:

“Arizona? Why would I move to Arizona? It’s nothing but a furnace full of drunk Indians.”

According to Oregon Live, Arizona is home to 21 Indian tribes. Alcohol is illegal on several reservations, but it is also easily obtained in neighboring towns.

Zah said:

“Alcoholism is a real issue on our reservations and it’s not funny … You can see somebody who is drunk and tripping over themselves and it’s easy to make fun of them … But the disease itself isn’t funny, the coming home late at night, possibly beating on family members, the absence of family members, the fear it instills in a lot of children.”

The Native American Journalists Association also called on CBS to apologize. The NAJA

NAJA President Rhonda LeValdo said:

“I think a lot of times people make excuses for when they do those type of jokes or sarcasm … To me, it’s not funny making fun of a minority group. Are we supposed to be the entertainment for mainstream?”

The Mike & Molly Indian joke isn’t available online at the moment, but here’s a clip from the show that features a joke about castration.

CBS hasn’t commented on the joke yet.

Do you think the network should apologize for the Indian joke? Do you think it was offensive?