Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act accused of being a toxic workplace for women of colour

Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act accused of being a toxic workplace for women of colour

"That show was not just one star’s brilliance and charisma, the people whose labor made it what it was were treated horribly."
25 Aug, 2020

After six sensational seasons and a total of 40 episodes, award-winning Netflix original Patriot Act came to an abrupt end with host Hasan Minhaj bidding goodbye and expressing gratitude to fans across the world.

While the show was sincere in its depth of exploring modern cultural and political landscapes through important conversations; it apparently lacked effort in practicing what it preached, most importantly, protecting the women who were the backbone in building its success.

Back in June, journalist and editorial producer, Sheila V Kumar had written on Twitter that she had "never been more unhappy" than when she was working at Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.

While she didn't elaborate, she wasn't the only employee who had a disappointing experience.

Pakistani writer Nur Nasreen also opened up about her time on set, voicing the ordeal she faced when the cameras were off.

"A lot of people have asked me to talk about Patriot Act. I avoided it because each time I relive the experience of being humiliated and gaslit, targeted and ignored, I sink back into days of depression", Nur wrote.

Acknowledging the necessity of the work they were putting out and the massive opportunity she received because of the show, she was sure that tweeting now would probably not help her, or anyone who has suffered.

"But I wonder if it was worth the mental anguish I went through over my last few months there," she continued. "I wish we still had Patriot Act. I also wish they truly practiced the progressive ethos they cultivated on screen. Then they would really deserve all your love."

As Nasreen's tweets started getting traction, many involved with Patriot Act took to point out how it was not a one-man show, but instead built on the labour of many, who were treated dreadfully.

"That show was not just one star’s brilliance and charisma," posted Iva Dixit from New York Times. "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."

Producer Amy Zhang extended support and sympathy, confirming that they were not the only women of colour who went through this.

"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," the producer exclaimed. "They were not the only WOC who went through this."

Previous employees too came forward to condemn workplace prejudice:

"Labor matters, labor is political, if you treat your workers badly but preach progressiveness otherwise it’ll catch up to ya."

While Patriot Act should be celebrated for what it was - raw, truthful in its social commentary and crucial in South Asian representation, it should also be condemned for what it failed to do - protect those responsible for its success.


sach baat Aug 25, 2020 06:26pm
Sudden success made him feel that he embodies truth, fairness and morality. Many journalists, politicians, actors, sportspersons fall into this trap. Their lives are around influencing others. Introspection is not what they are known for. All these are individual roles and very little circle of pragmatic advisors, hence this happens.
J Aug 25, 2020 08:20pm
He should release a PA episode on his treatment of women!
Hadi Aug 25, 2020 10:15pm
He made some powerful enemies, no wonder ambiguous slander is now being thrown his way.
Just Saying Aug 25, 2020 10:34pm
I am not surprised. Hasan Minhaj stuck me as the typical narcissist liberal who thinks his opinions only matter. I don't find his shows funny in the least.
Manto's ghost Aug 25, 2020 10:50pm
I am not a fan of Minhaj's lame humor but there's no information here about what was toxic about the workplace. We are being told it was toxic but no details on what actually went down?
Jawad Khan Aug 25, 2020 11:08pm
May be it had something to do with the topics it tackled, which caused concerns where it matter the most. No surprise, the show was going to be closed sooner or later, after how he was shunned by the political bigwigs of Indian political diaspora. Imagine his crew being told, oh so you work with "HIM". Scapegoating Hasan will not do any good to anyone. Hasan should team up with John Stewart and do a more platform independent program..Good luck Hasan
HAJI Aug 26, 2020 05:48am
I did not like his interview with Bernie Sanders. He sounded disgracing when asking him about selecting a Muslim as campaign manager, moreover, he wanted to sound like white, mozlum. I don't like so-called wanna be white.
Masood A. Khan Aug 26, 2020 10:18am
His only fault was being "brutally honest". Yes he ruffled some feathers, but then that was the name of the game. He is an investigative reporter and he upturned the rug. His brilliant interviews and asking what we don't have the guts to ask. Miss you man.
Chango Aug 26, 2020 12:21pm
@Masood A. Khan I think you are missing the point! They are not complaining about the content, rather the treatment women of colour got once the cameras are off!
RA Aug 26, 2020 12:55pm
How to judiciously investigate such claims? I mean by the prevailing standard anyone with a malicious intent can make a specious claim and dent the reputation of any individual or entity.
THE MORNING STAR, MD. Aug 26, 2020 02:52pm
Modi's poisonous spirit pervades and seeps into the Indian diaspora.