From Priyanka Chopra to Kal Penn, when celebrities tell you racism is for real

'Why don’t you have a turban?': Kal Penn on why he shared those Racist Scripts. Not long ago, Priyanka Chopra also shared her experiences with racism during Koffee With Karan Show.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: March 21, 2017 6:47 pm
Priyanka Chopra, Priyanka Chopra image, Kal Penn, Kal Penn image Both Kal Penn and Priyanka Chopra have shared their experiences about facing racism.

A few days ago, Kal Penn shared a series of tweets that documented a few of the scripts offered to him during the early phase of his Hollywood career. The scripts reflect the discrimination and racism that an Indian actor goes through while auditioning for these roles. These tweets shatter one’s image about Hollywood as a liberal and forward-thinking place. Kal was repeatedly asked to do stereotyped characters. The actor also asked to speak in authentic ‘Indian’ accent. Now, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Kal shares his reasons for digging out these old files and reflecting on them:

“Probably eight years ago or so, I was cleaning out scripts, and I saved some of the ones that I thought, ‘Wow, this is crazy. Maybe in like 50 years when things change, I can do something fun with this.’ I don’t remember why I decided to do it [post them now]. I thought it could be fun because we have come a very long way—but we still have a long way to go,” Kal told.

The actor also says that Hollywood is not as liberal as people think it to be. “People generally think of Hollywood as forward-thinking or liberal, and it’s not. People who work there definitely consider themselves to be liberal or whatever, but a lot of the things we sometimes unfairly assign to people who don’t share our political beliefs are things that we need to look in the mirror for as well,” Kal said.

Kal goes on to confess that there were auditions where he was asked to put a towel on his head. ” I remember going on a commercial audition where somebody said, ‘Can you put a bed sheet on your head? Why don’t you have a turban?’ And I thought, Well, I’m not Sikh [laughs]. ‘Can you put a bed sheet on your head and come back?’ Uh, well, no. Actually, I think I’m just gonna stay home. So, there were experiences like that; I think now you’ll find that you have an audition for something that gets canceled, and you’ll ask why, and they’ll say, well, they don’t want people of color for this, or they already have people of color. But again, it is changing.”

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Not long ago, Priyanka Chopra also shared her experiences with racism during Koffee With Karan Show. When KJo asked the if the actor has faced racism, Priyanka shared that she did, but not in the studios. She said that it was at the airport when she was sitting in the lounge for first class passengers that she was a victim. One of the ground staff was rude to her, and only after she argued that she was a valid first class passenger did he apologise.

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