Kal Penn exposes racist stereotypes in 90s audition scripts

  • Kal Penn exposes racist stereotypes in 90s audition scripts

Kal Penn exposes racist stereotypes in 90s audition scripts

In a series of tweets, Penn recalled when he was starting out as an actor and numerous parts he would audition for were blatantly stereotypical.

In one instance, Penn remarked that the writers didn't even bother giving the "Foreign Student" character a name.

Kal Penn most recently starred in critically acclaimed Kiefer Sutherland TV drama Designated Survivor.

"Found a bunch of old scripts from some of my first years trying to be an actor", Penn wrote in a series of tweets. "They were terrible", he said in reference to one script for a series that asked him to "make his accent more authentic". "That usually meant they wanted Apu [from The Simpsons]", he said.

'This was a pilot called The Stones.

"Tried to convince them to let me speak without an accent & make it amusing on the merits (was told no)", he wrote.

He tweeted examples from his early career which included roles in well-known shows like Sabrina The Teenage Witch and King of Queens.

The 39-year-old actor-who took a hiatus from show business to work for United States president Barack Obama's administration-is not the first Indian-American actor to chafe at the expectation that he put on an "Indian" accent like that of the convenience store-owner Apu from The Simpsons or Raj from Big Bang Theory. Upon second inspection, however, Penn sarcastically added, "Oh wait yes they did" and showed a piece of dialogue in which the character says his name, "Ravi Tulu singh Shankar Ramanji..."

Penn also shared a peek at a script from a commercial where he played a "Pakistani computer geek" and another project where the character, named Rajid, talked about "elephant dung". "I'm laughing about it now but they were such dicks".

He named shows that offered him roles with more depth, including a Steve Harvey show (though he doesn't specify which one), "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Angel" and "24".

In his tweets, he took time to praise House creator David Shores for being 'largely color & gender blind'.