Kalpen Modi — better known as Kal Penn or Kumar from Harold & Kumar — started his first day of work at The White House on July 6th as the associate director of the Office of Public Engagement running public outreach, with a focus on young people, the arts world and Asian-Americans. The New York Times describes Kalpen’s involvement in the Obama campaign and Asian American issues in an article covering Obama and Hollywood:
“In 2007, he signed on with the Obama campaign as a volunteer, going door to door and making phone calls; eventually he joined candidate Obama’s arts policy committee. Friends say that Mr. Modi, 32, who is Indian-American, has a deep interest in policy and in promoting Asian-Americans in the arts. Last year, he taught a course at the University Of Pennsylvania on how Asian-Americans are portrayed in the media. Although he played a terrorist in 2007 on “24,” he told an entertainment reporter at the time: “I have a huge political problem with the role. It was essentially accepting a form of racial profiling.””
So Kal Penn recognized he was reinforcing a racial stereotype, yet accepted the role on 24 anyway?
Also in the article, a new tidbit of information regarding A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, slated for release in November 2010: it sounds like Kal Penn is trying to get out his commitment to this film. Hopefully, Hollywood doesn’t make a third Harold & Kumar movie if it is just as flat as the mediocre sequel.
Image Source: Associated Press