- The New Yorker published an article in September alleging Minhaj had exaggerated or fabricated certain stories in his comedy routine
- The comic has now hit back with a 20 minute video offering ‘context’
- In response, the New Yorker have said they stand by their article
Hasan Minhaj has hit back against the New Yorker’s ‘needlessly misleading’ claims he made up stories about racism for his Netflix show, promising he is ‘not a psycho’.
The much-loved Emmy-winning comic has had a series of hit Netflix shows and specials focused on his experiences as an Asian American and Muslim American.
But in September, an article in the New Yorker alleged Minhaj had ‘fabricated’ or exaggerated stories about racism, including being rejected for prom on racist grounds, having run-ins with undercover FBI agents and an anthrax scare.
When the story came out, Minhaj’s response was limited, just issuing a short statement which read in part: ‘All my standup stories are based on events that happened to me.’
But now, the comedian has issued a 20-minute rebuttal addressing what he terms ‘omissions and factual errors’ in The New Yorker article.
He told the Hollywood Reporter: ‘I wanted to give people the context and materials I provided The New Yorker with full transparency.’
Looking into the camera, Minhaj says: ‘I just want to say to anyone who felt betrayed or hurt by my stand-up, I am sorry. I made artistic choices to express myself and drive home larger issues affecting me and my community, and I feel horrible that I let people down.’
He continues to say: ‘The reason I feel horrible is because I’m not a psycho. But this New Yorker article definitely made me look like one.
‘It was so needlessly misleading, not just about my stand-up, but also about me as a person. The truth is, racism, FBI surveillance and the threats to my family happened. And I said this on the record.’
One of the allegedly exaggerated stories the New Yorker article centered around was from Minhaj’s special Homecoming King.
In it, he tells a story about taking a white girl to prom, only to arrive at her house to have her reject him, and her mother tell him she doesn’t want her daughter in photos with a ‘brown boy’.
The New Yorker alleged the girl had told him she didn’t want to go with him days before prom, and she had received abuse online since the episode came out.
The comedian has hit back against the New Yorker story with a 20 minute video to give ‘context’
The New Yorker article came out in September and alleged Minhaj had exaggerated or fabricated certain stories in his comedy routines
Now, Minhaj has hit back, claiming ‘Bethany’s mom really did say that… They knew my rejection was due to race. I confirmed it on the record and provided corroborating evidence.’
Regarding the other two stories at the heart of the New Yorker piece – that his mosque was infiltrated by an FBI agent and his baby daughter had anthrax powder fall on her – Minhaj does not deny they are embellished.
He said: ‘In my work as a storytelling comedian, I assumed the lines between truth and fiction were allowed to be a bit more blurry.’
In response to the video, The New Yorker issued the following statement on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Hasan Minhaj confirms in this video that he selectively presents information and embellishes to make a point: exactly what we reported.
‘Our piece, which includes Minhaj’s perspective at length, was carefully reported and fact-checked.
‘It is based on interviews with more than twenty people, including former Patriot Act and Daily Show staffers; members of Minhaj’s security team; and people who have been the subject of his standup work, including the former F.B.I. informant “Brother Eric” and the woman at the center of his prom-rejection story. We stand by our story.’