Hollywood actor Kal Penn made headlines in 2009 when he put his movie career on hold to join the Obama White House as an associate director of public engagement. But the affable star of the Harold & Kumar movies and upcoming CBS sitcom “We Are Men” shocked liberals and many of his fans on Twitter last night when he tweeted his support for Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
Stop-and-frisk has come under fire from critics due to the disproportionate number of black and Hispanic males that have been stopped and searched, most of whom aren’t found to be in the commission of any crime. After finding that the program amounted to “indirect racial profiling” by targeting blacks and Hispanics disproportionate to their populations, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the practice unconstitutional and ordered the installation of the department’s first independent monitor to oversee how the policies are put into practice.
The judge’s decision was criticized by Bloomberg, and surprisingly, Penn voiced support for the mayor’s position.
“It’s a good policy,” Penn tweeted in response to someone questioning his praising of a pro-policy op/ed piece by Bloomberg. “Sad to see such activist judges ruling against public safety.”
Penn’s opinion is especially interesting considering his own experiences.
He revealed in a 2011 interview with GQ that he was robbed at gunpoint in Washington, D.C., while walking to meet some friends for dinner. He also revealed that he himself was racially profiled in 2004 while promoting Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
“When we were promoting the first Harold & Kumar, [co-star] John Cho and I were flying from Houston to Chicago,” he said. “We’re at the airport in Texas and each of us brought a buddy with us. We’re going through security and I’m the one who gets pulled out of line. They take you in the back room and you have to face a wall and they go through all of your stuff. I meet my friends at the gate, and my buddy Gabe says, ‘Hey, you’re gonna be a little irritated.’ I’m like, I’m already irritated! He says, ‘Remember when I went camping last weekend? Well, I’ve got my hunting knife with me. I forgot to take it out of my bag. But they were so busy looking at you that they didn’t bother to look at the monitor when my stuff was going through.’ He flew to Chicago with this massive hunting knife and then mailed it home to L.A.”
“It goes against the notion that something like that makes us safer.”
Hit the click to see how Penn’s views on racial profiling have apparently changed …