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India's Zee TV to Change Name of Soap Opera 'Hitler Didi' After Anti-Defamation League Criticism

"It was never our design to cause any grief and for that we deeply apologize," the Indian TV network operator said.

NEW YORK - India's Zee TV said Tuesday it would change the name of soap opera Hitler Didi, roughly translated as Auntie Hitler, that had attracted anger from the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL on Thursday had called on the network "to remove the name Hitler from the program’s title and to rename the show with a less offensive title." According to the network's marketing materials, the name Hitler refers to the lead character, a young woman known as a strict disciplinarian.

“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 that it said it sent to Punit Goenka, managing director and CEO, as well as Subhash Chandra, chairman of Zee Entertainment. 

"We deeply regret any distress that this name may have caused and it is our intention to change the name immediately," Zee TV,  a division of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "It was never our design to cause any grief and for that we deeply apologize."

The show premiered on Nov. 7 on Zee TV in India and is also carried on the network's affiliates in other countries, including the U.S., according to the ADL. 

“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,” Abraham Foxman, ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor, had said earlier in the day. “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.”

Chandra was in New York in recent days to accept an award at the International Emmy Awards on Monday.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai