Hasan Minhaj criticised after revealing most of the stories in his stand-up are untrue
PMC - The Hollywood Reporter / VideoElephant
A New Yorkerpiece has gained a lot of attention after revealing that American comedian Hasan Minhaj made-up a lot of the stories at the centre of his comedy, and fans are outraged.
Minjah, an Asian American and Muslim American, based a lot of his comedy around those experiences, and his Netflix series Patriot Act won an Emmy.
Speaking to writer Clare Malone, Minjah told her "every story in my style is built around a seed of truth".
In a Patriot Act segment Minhaj tells the disturbing story of a letter sent to him filled with a white powder that spilled onto his young daughter, who was subsequently rushed to hospital. It turned out not to be anthrax, but served as a reminder of the consequences of Minhaj's comedy.
But Malone did some digging and found at there is no record of such an incident. Not from the NYPD, local hospitals, or front-desk and mailroom employees at Minaj's former residence. During her conversation with Minhaj, he admitted that "his daughter had never been exposed to a white power, and that she hadn't been hospitalised".
He told Malone that he didn't think he was manipulating his audience when she asked, "It's grounded in truth," he said.
Another well known story of Minhaj is from his 2017 Netflix special Homecoming King, where he talks of a white girl he had a crush on, kissed, and invited to prom, only to show up the night of the dance to the girl going to prom with another guy. Onstage, Minhaj said that the girl's parents didn't want their daughter to take pictures with a brown boy because they were concerned what relatives may think. "I didn't know that people could be bigoted even as they were smiling at you," Minhaj says during the show.
But the woman in the story disputes it, saying that she had turned down Minhaj, then a close friend, days before prom. Minhaj admitted this was correct, but said he had a different understanding go her rejection and there was an "emotional truth" to the story.
The woman also shared that she had faced online threats and doxing for years after Minhaj failed to successfully disguise her identity.
According to some former Patriot Act employees, members of the research team felt he could be dismissive of the fact-checking process. Malone reported that, "in one instance, Minhaj grew frustrated that fact-checking was stymying the creative flow during a final rewrite, and a pic of female researchers were asked to leave the writers' room." In a written statement, Minhaj insisted that "fact-checking at Patriot Act was extremely rigorous".
When fans and viewers of Minhaj's content read Malone's piece, they were shocked and appalled. Some called his ego "terrifying", whilst others said it is "not okay to make up instances of threat over journalism".
Hasan Minhaj\u2019s ego is terrifying. Imagine, it\u2019s a leisurely afternoon in the West Village and you admit to a journalist that you fabricated a story about your child being exposed to anthrax
— The Last Air Sign (@The Last Air Sign)
Have no view on comedy ethics but its not OK to make up instances of threat over journalism. There are a lot of people really harmed or killed as journalists, mostly non-Westerners who are not famous and seldom talk about it, and its a disservice to them. https://t.co/ai3nAAm5An
To be clear: I'm less disturbed by Hasan Minhaj making up bits for comedy than I am that he used one of those "exagerated" bits to seemingly get back at a girl who turned him down in high school by implying her family was racist and using a pic of her and her husband.
I've rly loved Hasan Minhaj's comedy, esp. his story about a girl whose racist parents had her reject him on prom night. The fact that he lied, that she just wasn't interested, & that she's received years of online threats is disappointing. \nhttps://t.co/xldGTkTNPG
everyone lies on stage when we\u2019re telling jokes but the particular things he\u2019s lying about are pretty serious so i\u2019m not sure why all the replies and QTs are so sarcastic?? he\u2019s telling realistic stories involving real people to make political points. it\u2019s like, barely comedy.