ADL Calls On India's Zee TV To Remove 'Hitler' From Title Of New Soap Opera
Update: (11/30/11) Zee TV subsequently apologized to ADL and announced that it would change the name of the program so that it no longer invokes Hitler in the title. More
New York, NY, November 22, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on a television network responsible for marketing and distributing a popular new soap opera in India to remove the name "Hitler" from the program's title and to rename the show with a less offensive title.
"Hitler Didi" is the name of a new soap opera airing five days a week on Zee TV, a division of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, based in Mumbai. After receiving numerous complaints about the title and its use in online promotional materials and videos, ADL last week wrote network executives with a request to change the name to one "not freighted with the taint of the Nazi Holocaust."
"The name Hitler doesn't belong in the title of a soap opera, and we think the producers of this program have made a terrible error in judgment that can only be remedied with a title change," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "Hitler was an anti-Semite, fascist dictator and mass murderer responsible for the annihilation of European Jewry. That millions of soap opera fans in India are now hearing and talking about a program with the name 'Hitler' on a daily basis is shocking. This is a terrible trivialization of a name freighted with the taint of the Nazi Holocaust."
According to the network's marketing materials, the title "Hitler Didi" (roughly translated, "Auntie Hitler") refers to the lead character, a young woman known in her locality as a strict disciplinarian who takes a no-nonsense attitude with her family.
"Let's preserve the name 'Hitler' as a villain of incomparable evil and not trivialize his legacy or the Holocaust with a serial TV title," ADL wrote in a letter to Punit Goenka, Managing Director & CEO, and Subhash Chandra, Chairman of Zee Entertainment. "We strongly urge you to reconsider the choice of title and rename your show."
The program, starring the Indian actress Rati Pandey, premiered on November 7 on Zee TV in India and is also being carried on the network's affiliates in other countries, including the United States.
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The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.