"It is not fair that you should enjoy quality late-night humor while our brothers around the world are experiencing comedy of the most miserable level," Bin Laden said in his message, apparently addressing Americans directly. "Based on this, with the permission of God, we will continue to inflict Jay Leno upon you until the suffering of our people abates."
The announcement is the latest of a rash of bad publicity for the late-night host, who even before the al Qaeda announcement had been named "the most hated man in the world" in recent polls from CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, TV Guide and Octane magazine, an auto publication that runs a column by Leno.
"Used to run," clarified Octane editor Max Cargswell. "We hate him now."
"The man owns 14,000 cars. You don't think they're contributing to the hole in the ozone layer?" asked former Vice President al Gore at a New York City fundraiser for the Alliance for Climate Protection. "Ooh, I just hate him."
The crowd at the $500-a-plate dinner then started chanting "CoCo, CoCo, CoCo," in reference to displaced Tonight show host Conan O'Brien, and "burned" a cardboard cutout of Leno by illuminating it with fluorescent light bulbs.
TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, in an interview with Us Weekly, says the dramatic turnaround in public opinion toward Leno may be unprecedented. "He was thought of for years as this nice, funny, middle-of-the-road guy, and suddenly people are equating him to the likes of Hitler, Genghis Khan, Dick Cheney," noted McGraw. "I wonder how that's working out for him."
"It's not so much that people hate him now, it's the unbridled vehemence of the hate I find scary," said McGraw. "Not that it's misplaced - I'd kill him with my bare hands if I got the chance."