Designated Survivor star Kal Penn has taken to Twitter to expose racist stereotypes in Hollywood he encountered when auditioning in the late 90s.
Penn, known for the Harold and Kumar films, shared photos on twitter of his old audition scripts that featured racially stereotyped characters, such as "Ghandi lookalike" and "snake charmer".
Found a bunch of old scripts from some of my first years trying to be an actor. pic.twitter.com/GydOwlUKGW— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) March 14, 2017
The parts were for shows running in the 90s, including Sabrina the Teenage Witch and King of Queens.
"Jeez I remember this one! They were awful," 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", he said, in reference to the Simpsons character.
Sharing a portion of the King of Queens script that makes fun of a character's Indian name, Penn said, "I used to love that show until I got to audition for it lol".
Friggin King of Queens man! I used to love that show until I got to audition for it lol pic.twitter.com/2BYu0nnd57— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) March 14, 2017
Almost all the scripts he shared made reference to Indian accents, including Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
"Sabrina the Teenage Witch! Man. We got INTO it about why he had to have an accent. I'm laughing about it now but they were such dicks".
Penn said for one pilot, called The Stones, he asked to speak without an Indian accent and to "make it funny on the merits", but was told no.
"I do not remember this audition except that it was for some sh**ty MTV show and the big joke was an accent and too much cologne," he said of another.
During filming for an advertisement, Penn said the makeup team would use Vaseline to get the "sweaty unwashed look going" for a Pakistani character in a "perpetual state of perspiration".
After sharing a number of scripts, Penn said there were also "some wonderful first audition and work experiences".
"Stuff like Steve Harvey, Buffy, Angel, 24, really smart, creative people who didn't have to use external things to mask sub-par writing," he said.