The latest episode of Bye Bye, released on 1 January by Radio Canada, has come under heavy fire from some viewers. The short satirical clip depicted the country's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, smoking pot to escape daily stress and leading him to wind up in the world of Indian dances. The plot refers to Trudeau's February trip to the South Asian country, where he wore the country's traditional clothes, sparking controversy.
But it was not only Indian clothing or mockery of the country's traditional dances that caused the backlash — the clip depicted singing cows, a sacred animal in Hinduism, being pushed away by a gorilla wearing a wig similar to the hairstyle of US President Donald Trump.
One Facebook user named Ina Bhowmick wrote that Bye Bye 2018 was shot in a manner "completely disrespectful to our cultures". Another user, named Maaha Khan, wrote that with "ignorance and racism growing up" she has still never "been as offended as after watching the video".
But not all users found the video racist. Some were actually amazed by people accusing Radio Canada of using racist clichés.
A user named Prateek Suman Awasthi wrote: "I do not understand what this outrage is all about. It's a fun satirical video and I have not been offended. I am Indian, born and raised, in case someone is wondering".
Another user, named Gilles Brouillette, noted that Radio Canada's intentions were quite the opposite in this case: "To those who complain that Indians are being caricatured here — you have failed to understand that the only one who has caricatured Indians is Justin Trudeau with his dress during the trip to India".
A user named Maxime Lebel added: "Every year there are some people who criticize what was shown in Bye Bye… it is impossible to please everyone… so switch your brain off for an hour of the year and have a laugh".
Justin Trudeau's controversial trip to India was not only notable for the traditional Indian garments, which some local media found to be "too Indian", but also by the invitation of Jaspal Atwal to several receptions. Atwal was previously convicted for attempting to kill an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 as part of a plot organised by an extremist Sikh separatist group.