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Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell appear in a promotional photo for Mike and Molly. - Provided courtesy of CBS

'Mike & Molly' joke offends Navajo Nation, group says it's 'deplorable'

Get more: TV
03/05/2013 by Nichole Hamilton

One episode of "Mike & Molly" didn't leave all of its viewers laughing.

The Navajo Nation is speaking out over a joke that aired on the CBS comedy show, which stars Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell, that referred to Native Americans as "drunk Indians."

In the episode that aired on Feb. 25, Mike's mother Peggy, who is played by actress Rondi Reed, said: "Arizona? Why would I move to Arizona? It's nothing but a furnace full of drunk Indians."

Erny Zah, a spokesperson for the Navajo Nation, provided a statement to ABC News.

"It"s offensive, it's derogatory, it's deplorable," Zah explained. "Ignorance is one thing, but this must have passed through a lot of eyes before it appeared on a network show." He added, "An apology would be appropriate but it can't fix the damage done."

The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, covering over 27,000 square miles. Sometimes referred to as Navajoland, the territory is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America, and has a population of over 250,000, according to its website.

"Alcoholism is a real issue on our reservations and it's not funny," Zah told the news outlet.

The episode, which was titled "Molly's New Shoes," was watched by about 9.76 million viewers and earned a rating 2.7 among those between ages 18 to 49, marking a season low.

CBS, which airs "Mike & Molly," had no immediate comment.

"Mike & Molly" debuted in 2010. McCarthy plays a school teacher who falls for a police officer, portrayed by Billy Gardell, after meeting him in a weight loss support group. Reed plays Gardell's character's mother, Peggy, in the series.

McCarthy also stars in the 2013 comedy film, "Identity Thief," with actor Jason Bateman. The actress earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the 2011 film "Bridesmaids."

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