Hasan Minhaj’s award-winning show the ‘Patriot Act’ has been accused of creating a toxic workplace environment for women of colour. The irony of this is clearly evident, seeing as Minhaj himself is of Indian origin. Why Minhaj has allowed this to happen seems to be a mystery.
Several women who worked to make this show the groundbreaking platform it eventually became have now come forward with stories of the toxicity they have endured behind the scenes.
Sheila Kumar, an editorial producer, was the first to come out with a claim of mistreatment. In June, she tweeted the following: “My tolerance for this industry is very, very high. I’ve worked at some difficult places. I’ve never experienced a work environment like Patriot Act.”
These tweets had a number of replies underneath consisting of women commiserating with Sheila. Some even mentioned that they knew countless others who had gone through the same while working at this show.
Nur Nasreen, Pakistani writer, also took to Twitter to share her own harrowing experience. Nur wrote that she sank into depression every time she thought about that time when she was “humiliated and gaslit, targeted and ignored”. She also said that although she wished Patriot Act could come back to Netflix, what she really wanted was to see its management practice the values the show stood for.
Reportedly, after Nur Nasreen, many others who had worked for the Patriot Act also came out with their own stories.
This show hosted by Hasan Minhaj was one that was lauded for its efforts to bring to light hard-hitting topics such as racism, discrimination, and inequal opportunities. Indian-Americans – Muslims especially – related to this show on a deeply personal level, and were heartbroken when Netflix cancelled it in early August this year.
Hasan Minhaj is not the only show host recently called out for alleged misconduct. The wildly popular show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres is also facing similar allegations, with workers saying they “experienced racism, fear, and intimidation behind the scenes”. In 2018, the same show was under fire for a case involving gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Both of these shows were considered safe and non-toxic platforms speaking about important and relevant issues. However, there is a clear demarcation between the ideologies these shows project and the practices they engage in off-camera.