Penn also recalled several occasions of pushing back against having to use over-the-top and unnecessary Hindu accents and being asked to make an accent "more authentic." "That usually meant they wanted Apu [from
The Simpsons]," he said.
Penn noted that some shows were better to work for than others, but still said that if he posted every problematic script he had, he'd be on Twitter all day.
There are too many in this stack to tweet, I'll be here all day. That said, there were also some wonderful 1st audition & work experiences! — Kal Penn (@kalpenn) March 14, 2017
Stuff like Steve Harvey, Buffy, Angel, 24, really smart, creative people who didn't have to use external things to mask subpar writing — Kal Penn (@kalpenn) March 14, 2017
Penn has used his platform to shine light on the otherization of people of color before, famously raising more than $800,000 in January for Syrian refugees after receiving racist abuse from an Instagram troll. "To the dude who said I don't belong in America, I started a fundraising page for Syrian refugees in your name," he wrote on Twitter at the time.
He's also the latest actor to speak out against biased casting in Hollywood. Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani of Silicon Valleyrecently told Vulture, "For brown guys, we're still in the phase where we're stereotyped as either nerdy dudes or terrorists, and I think we're transitioning out of it, hopefully."