A segment on an episode of 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' that went online on Friday has earned the ire of several Indian Twitter users. The video in question (watch it above), called 'Cash 4 Poop', talks about a recent development in Ahmedabad, where the city's municipal corporation announced a scheme that would pay Re 1 to all those who used public toilets.
This action is in response to Ahmedabad's rampant open defecation problem which reportedly takes place around public toilets in 120 areas across the city. A United Nations report, published jointly by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) last year, estimates that 597 million people defecate outside of a toilet in India.
Kimmel's segment begins by outlining the same problems, saying that 53% Indians defecate out in the open (quoting a World Bank report from 2013). It then cuts to an admittedly hilarious clip from an animated UNICEF public service announcement called 'Take The Poo To The Loo', which was put online in February 2014 as an attempt to generate awareness.
In a sarcastic attempt to 'better' this PSA, the popular American TV host goes on to talk about Ahmedabad's recent move (calling it "basically, government-funded potty training") and suggests another that might work better. The video then cuts to a segment where, in the style of a cable TV advertisement, a presenter named Salman Patel announces a scheme called 'Cash 4 Poop'.
At no point in the video is there an attempt to explain to viewers exactly why open defecation is rampant in India (reasons include poverty, lack of infrastructure, and ingrained social attitudes), not to mention its far-reaching consequences.
Reactions to the video have been sharply divided. A few prominent Indian Twitter users, including BuzzFeed India editor Rega Jha and novelist Samit Basu, criticised the video, calling it 'tone deaf' and "in poor taste" respectively.
Yo Kimmel, you're laughing at poverty here, that accent is ridic & you coulda looked up how to pronounce Ahmedabad. https://t.co/4WmBRHXN4g— Rega Jha (@RegaJha) June 21, 2015
However, others, like felt that it was merely representative of Kimmel's irreverent brand of humour and that the outrage was unwarranted.
Outrage over @JimmyKimmel having a laugh at India and open-air defecation? Seriously, folks.— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) June 22, 2015
"Jimmy Kimmel's take on India was so offensive!"
*refuses to stand up for national anthem at the cinema hall*— Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) June 22, 2015
Our take? We'll let John Oliver say it for us.