Hasan Minhaj, comedian and former host of Netflix’s “Patriot Act” replied in detail Thursday to a New Yorker article published last month that said he admitted to create and embellish stories he used it in his stand-up comedy routine.
THE New York profile by Clare Malone has sparked criticism and doubt about Minhaj’s public persona and comedy, which often focuses on social justice issues, including his experiences as a Muslim and second-generation Indian-American.
Apart from one statement to Variety on September 15 to defend his story, Minhaj remained silent on the issues raised in the article until Thursday, when he published a 20-minute article Youtube video responding to the article, calling it “unnecessarily misleading.”
He began the video by apologizing to fans who felt betrayed or hurt by his stand-up, reiterating that he made artistic choices to express himself and highlight bigger issues that matter to him and his community .
“With everything going on in the world, I’m aware that even talking about it now seems so trivial,” Minhaj said in the video. “But being accused of ‘simulating racism’ is not trivial. This is very serious and requires an explanation.
He then delved into three stories from his comedy specials highlighted in the New Yorker article, extracting emails and texts, recordings of the reporter’s interview and other graphics to provide more context.
The New Yorker discussed three Minhaj stories, all of which appear in his 2017 and 2022 Netflix comedy specials: one about his daughter being rushed to the hospital over fears of possible anthrax exposure, another on the invitation of a white friend to the prom. and victim of racism from his family, and a story about his family’s mosque in Sacramento being infiltrated by a white undercover FBI informant named Brother Eric who pretended to convert to Islam.
The New Yorker interviewed the subjects of these stories, including the woman Minhaj invited to the ball and the FBI informant, revealing that the comedian’s accounts contained details that did not happen. The article also noted that Minhaj admitted to fabricating or exaggerating his stories.
For example, in his 2017 Netflix special, “Homecoming King,” Minhaj recounts how he invited a white friend — whom he refers to under the fake name “Bethany Reed” — to prom. When he showed up at her house on prom night, Minhaj claims her mother told her they didn’t want her to go to prom with him because they didn’t want her to take photos with him. a brown boy.
According to the New Yorker, the woman said she never agreed to go to prom with Minhaj and that her family was doxxed and threatened with death because of the Netflix special.
Malone also reports that although Minhaj admitted that some aspects of her stories did not happen, they contained “emotional truth” and that each person had a different understanding of why the woman rejected Minhaj.
In his Thursday video, Minhaj said the New Yorker omitted evidence he provided about the stories and that the article implied he faked racism to get back at the girl for rejecting him .
“Bethany’s mom really said that; It was just a few days before the ball, and I created the threshold scene to immerse the audience in the feeling of that moment, which I told the reporter,” he said in his rebuttal on Youtube. He then played a clip from the interview in which he and Malone discussed that scene.
Minhaj also shared emails and text messages between him and his white friend that he said he repeatedly offered to The New Yorker, showing the friend thanking him for protecting his family from threats and doxxing and indirectly acknowledging that race was a factor in prom rejection.
In his YouTube video, Minhaj also sought to explain why he embellished the details of his comedic anecdotes about the FBI informant and the anthrax letter.
Regarding the FBI history, Minhaj said he had “altercations” with undercover law enforcement growing up, but did not detail what those altercations were about. He said he embellished the story to “recreate” the sense of “paranoia and vindication, tension and liberation” felt by Muslim communities who suffered government surveillance after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
He also acknowledges embellishing the anthrax story, admitting that his daughter was never taken to the hospital but that he wanted to convey the fear his family felt at that time.
“To everyone who has read this article, I want to answer the biggest question probably on your mind: Is Hasan Minhaj secretly a psychopath? Underneath all the glitz, is Hasan Minhaj just a crook who uses fake racism and Islamophobia to advance his career? Because after reading this article, I would think that too,” he said in Thursday’s video.
“The reason I feel horrible is because I’m not a psychopath. But this New Yorker article definitely made me look like one. It was so unnecessarily misleading, not only about my stand-up, but also about me as a person. The truth is that the racism, FBI surveillance, and threats against my family happened. And I said it officially.
In a statement Published Thursday, Malone said she and the New Yorker stand by her story and that it contains carefully reported and verified information based on interviews with more than 20 people, including former “Patriot” staffers. Act” and the “Daily Show,” members of Minhaj’s security team and people who have been the subject of his stand-up work.
“Hasan Minhaj confirms in this video that he presents information selectively and embellishes it to make a point: exactly what we reported. Our article, which includes Minhaj’s views in detail, has been carefully reported and fact-checked,” Malone said. “We remain true to our history.”
Minhaj’s team did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the New Yorker’s response to his video.
The Huffington Gt