From M Night Shyamalan to Kal Penn, Indian-origin Stars Against Trump
With Padma Lakshmi criticising Trump once again, here is a look at other Indian American celebrities who have condemned POTUS.
Indian American model-turned-author Padma Lakshmi recently slammed US President Donald Trump, saying he is a “menace to society”. She was speaking at the 8th Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Thimphu, Bhutan. This is not the first time the author has lashed out against the US president.
Last year, during the run-up to the elections, the Variety magazine quoted her as saying: “Even if he wasn’t the racist buffoon that he is making himself out to be, I probably wouldn’t vote for him. But as an immigrant, I obviously don’t see his worldview as mine.”
She added: “We are a country of immigrants, so to say you should put a wall up or limit certain ethnicities is sort of antithetical to what this country is about. He himself is an immigrant of immigrant descent. Unless you are from the Cherokee nation, your ancestors are immigrants so you may be an umpteenth generation immigrant but there you are, squatting on someone else’s land.”
Like Padma Lakshmi, several other prominent Indian Americans have been vocal about their feelings against Trump:
Last week, with the backlash surrounding Donald Trump’s response to Charlottesville incident in which he said “many sides” were responsible for the violence in the white supremacist rally, actor-politician Kal Penn submitted a joint resignation letter from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Penn, who plays White House press secretary in the ABC series Designated Survivor, had in the letter, that was signed by other members including acclaimed Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri, said: “Speaking truth to power is never easy, Mr. President . . . art is about inclusion. The humanities include a vibrant free press. You have attacked both. You released a budget which eliminates arts and culture agencies. You have threatened nuclear war while gutting diplomacy funding. . . . Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed.”
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) August 18, 2017
In response to the letter, the White House released a statement saying, “Earlier this month it was decided that President Trump will not renew the Executive Order for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), which expires later this year.”
Kal Penn responded to the statement by posting on Twitter: “Lol @realDonaldTrump you can’t break up with us after we broke up with you LMFAO.”
M Night Shyamalan
The Indian-origin director of The Sixth Sense found himself mentioned in a barrage of tweets on Election Day when distraught Americans questioned if Trump’s win was not an elaborate M Night Shyamalan plot twist. He was quoted in the website, The Daily Beast, as saying: “On that night, my phone was going off because people were starting to tweet, ‘Please tell me this is an M. Night Shyamalan twist.’ And I was so depressed. I was like, ‘No, I’m afraid this one is not’.”
He even left a tweet that drew similarities between Trump and Hitler.
— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) July 2, 2017
This Indian American actor-comedian is also a vocal critic of Trump. During the 2016 presidential race, Ansari penned an essay titled ‘Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family’.
The essay started with how he asked his mother to do her prayers at home instead of going to the mosque, and he reflects on how awful it is to “tell an American citizen how she should worship”.
The essay, published in The New York Times, went on to say: “Mr Trump has said that people in the American Muslim community ‘know who the bad ones are,’ implying that millions of innocent people are somehow complicit in awful attacks. Not only is this wrongheaded; but it also does nothing to address the real problems posed by terrorist attacks. By Mr. Trump’s logic, after the huge financial crisis of 2007-08, the best way to protect the American economy would have been to ban white males.”
Comic Hasan Minhaj, from the quartet Goatface Comedy, is well known for hosting The White House Correspondent Dinner, which Donald Trump chose to skip. His set at the dinner was filled with zingers directed at the president. Minhaj said in his set: “The president didn’t show up. Because Donald Trump doesn’t care about free speech. The man who tweets everything that comes into his head doesn’t show up to celebrate the amendment that allows him to do it.”
Later, in an interview to The Rolling Stone magazine, Minhaj said: “I [had] to make fun of him and the administration, because the hypocrisy of this is too loud to ignore.”