Hasan Minhaj has been accused of creating a toxic workplace on the set of his Netflix show 'Patriot Act.'
We all enjoyed Hasan Minhaj's hot takes on his hit Netflix show Patriot Act. There was nothing like watching him attack Donald Trump or an oppressive tax regime that only benefits the wealthy in a quick one-liner. You would assume that someone with such progressive views would extend these views into their actions in daily life, right? Well, you would be wrong. In a scathing takedown of Minhaj's lack of commitment to gender equality in the workplace, activist and writer Sangeetha developed a detailed account of the toxic work culture that was prevalent behind the scenes of his show. And wouldn't you know it, that work culture impacted women of color worst.
It was traumatizing to witness Sheila + Nur, intrepid producers who led some of our top episodes--Amazon, Saudi Arabia, Indian Elections—be silenced, treated unfairly + made to later doubt their own skills in a toxic newsroom.— Amy Zhang (for hire!) (@azhang852) August 24, 2020
They were not the only WOC who went through this. https://t.co/yED47UaoXB
She reflects on the several tweets posted by South Asian women about the discrimination they faced. The tweets arose at a time when employees of The Ellen Degeneres Show were speaking up about their own toxic workplace as a display of solidarity. Sheila Vee, a former producer, was the first to do so. Sangeetha explains, "[Vee] tweeted about her experience, only to go on to protect her tweets. That is understandable. After all, Minhaj is beloved by the 'woke' Desis, and the social justice crowd in general. She was making herself a target by telling the truth."
fun fact: hasan minhaj cultivated a misogynistic and horrible work environment (just like ellen) but it was rarely talked about. a lot of female staffers/writers came out about the toxicity on set https://t.co/jhW6RFv75e— BURN THE WORLD DOWN FOR OLUWATOYIN (@AYANLAVANZANT) November 24, 2020
But women braver than me already spoke up. The show was a necessary and important one, and I am proud of my work there to this day. I am also grateful for the opportunities it gave me.— nur nasreen (@Nuri_ibrahim) August 20, 2020
This is the protection that "woke boys" receive. Since they build a facade of allyship, anyone who pokes holes in their veneers of solidarity is met with disbelief. Those who highlight their complicity are attacked, their experiences invalidated, and their hopes of ever achieving justice eliminated. Of course, woke boys are more dangerous than men who are openly sexist. They are chameleons in the circles of social justice, blanketing themselves in the shtick of comradeship. When you add degrees of oppression, like race or sexuality, the problem is only exacerbated. Such is the case with Minhaj. This is not to say that his experiences as a South Asian man are not important, they definitely are. It is, however, about intersectionality. While he may have experienced his fair share of discrimination, how does he use his straight, cis, male privilege to do good?
WOC and desi women have been tweeting about the toxic work culture under Hasan Minhaj for months, but somehow it gets buried constantly. This piece lays it out. https://t.co/YyRcnWJjzt— Sandhya Ramesh (@sandygrains) November 24, 2020
I remember crying for two days straight prior to giving my notice and feeling like a complete failure for not setting out what I had come to do. I spoke to the head writer (now showrunner) about what went wrong and got a deluge of empty but placating words.— Camille (@kobitchke) June 9, 2020
Apparently, he doesn't. After Vee came forward, others did too. Pakistani news producer and writer Nur Nasreen was one of them, as Sangeetha highlights. "Nasreen’s point about a progressive ethos in front of the screen versus the hypocrisy of how un-progressively you treat the women of color who work under you has really stuck with me," she writes. "It is because, in my experience, this is what most social justice spaces have been like. For women like me, who have neither pretty or thin privilege, or light-skin or class privilege, social justice “activists” shun [us] because I do not have the connections and networks that they want access to in order to further their careers."
just found out hasan minhaj cultivated a toxic work culture for poc women in patriot act bruh i am so hurt... i thought u were good hasan...— nhi ⁷ (@ohdearnhi) November 24, 2020
While Patriot Act should be celebrated for the underrepresented voice it brought to a blizzard white genre, it should also be condemned. Nur is my brilliant friend who, among other WOC, faced mistreatment while employed by the show. Absolutely no workplace is immune to prejudice. https://t.co/1s6BlM4uI6— Wil Kauffman (@wilburman4) August 22, 2020
When all these women came forward, you would have expected someone like Minhaj to act. And that's totally what happened! Not. Sangeetha questions, "Minhaj was not taken to task. Nothing happened to the show. It was canceled on its own, and a slew of articles on how sad people were about the cancellation came out instead. Minhaj did not even acknowledge the tweets, let alone apologize or take any responsibility for what had happened. Where was the outrage? Where was the outcry?" The Patriot Act host, like Ellen, got a huge pass simply because of the personality he had built. That's not okay. Those in social justice circles should take an intersectional approach and truly be committed to justice. Even if that means killing their darlings.
That show was not just one star’s brilliance and charisma. The people whose labor made it what it was were treated horribly, and I’ve watched my friends break down in real time from what they went through while working there. https://t.co/9hbhKsEzCt— Iva Dixit (@ivadixit) August 21, 2020
while hasan minhaj is going viral right now, just a reminder women of colour who worked on his show were humiliated, gaslit, targeted and ignored— Erin Brockobić (@erinbrockobic) November 24, 2020
"I’ve worked at some difficult places. I’ve never experienced a work environment like Patriot Act.”https://t.co/k8dUmCe4AF