Comedian Hasan Minhaj is facing backlash after it was revealed that many of the stories he shared in his Netflix standup special were untrue. The New Yorker uncovered multiple instances where Minhaj had fabricated details to enhance his comedic routine.
In “The King’s Jester,” Minhaj recounted a story about an F.B.I. informant named “Brother Eric” attempting to infiltrate his community’s mosque in Sacramento in 2002. However, it was later discovered that Minhaj was actually in prison during that time and “Brother Eric” had never worked for the F.B.I. in Northern California.
Another story involved Minhaj receiving white powder in the mail and rushing his daughter to the hospital, believing she had been exposed to anthrax. This story was also found to be false.
Minhaj defended himself, stating that every story in his style is built around a seed of truth. He described his comedy as being “seventy percent emotional truth” and “thirty percent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction.”
Despite his explanation, many were quick to criticize Minhaj’s actions. One user on social media stated, “Have no view on comedy ethics but it’s not OK to make up instances of threat over journalism. There are a lot of people really harmed or killed as journalists … and it’s a disservice to them.” Another user tweeted, “Comedians of course have the right to make stuff up to tell a joke … But this is totally different — it’s oppression fantasy and it delegitimizes real stuff via elite capture.”
While many have slammed Minhaj for his lies, one fellow comedian has stood up for him. It remains to be seen how this scandal will affect Minhaj’s career moving forward.