Mindy Kaling is facing backlash for admitting that she kissed a costar without consent, and she threatened to fire her employees if they told anyone. Ironically, one of her “Velma” episodes featured a forced kiss between two characters.
Velma was deemed problematic this week by viewers for sexualizing minors. One scene from episode two garnered controversy after it showed Daphne kissing Velma in the middle of a panic attack. "Pls don’t kiss anyone when they have a panic attack," says @paradox_punch, referring to the clip below.
Many users are in agreement with the hit tweet. "Kissing or slapping someone having a panic attack is literally the worst idea lmfao… especially bc sometimes they’re caused by sensory overload," @ShenTheAuthor writes.
"these writers do NOT know what panic attacks are," adds @chipgogobozo.
The scene caused one of Mindy’s interviews with Conan O'Brien from 2015 to resurface, in which she discusses forcibly kissing a costar – and then threatening to fire her employees if they told anyone. Conan asked her, "Do you ever feel like having that much power on your show has led to you being a little unprofessional?" He continued, "Because power can corrupt, power can lead one – I know because this show's called 'Conan,' and I'm a raving lunatic all day long. Having a show named after you can lead to evil behavior."
"You know, I think the temptation is there," Mindy responded. "I have succumbed to that temptation." The actress disclosed that handsome actors have made appearances on her show, but that she's a "professional" who can "behave like a lady." Except, she did end up kissing a costar – Lee Pace – without his consent.
"He came on the show, and we had to do this flashback sequence where we were in bed together in college, and we're just supposed to be having a conversation," she recalled. "But, like, he's so tall and he's so handsome that in the middle of it he was just supposed to be like, 'what do you think, Mindy?' and I was like, [kissing sound]!"
"And I looked around and I improvised kissing him in the scene – which was not in the script!" The Office star said Lee Pace was visibly confused, but she acted like nothing happened. When she walked backstage after the kiss, she met with her writer producers who warned her she could get sued. "And I got very scared, uh, and then I said, um, 'tell anyone and you're fired,'" she confessed.
The comments on the YouTube video have condemned Mindy's behavior. "'Tell anyone and you're fired' is some Weinstein-level sh*t," said one comment.
"It's sexual harrassment whether Lee (or anyone) publically says it is or not. Remember he is in the uncomfortable situation of trying to keep his private life private and not burn bridges in a very who-you-know business, and like many people, probably has to 'laugh off' things that he really didn't find funny at all," @rmh9749 explained in the comment section. "Besides, even if someone says it's nbd, but everyone else can see they're being taken advantage of -- like example: with a drunk person, a child, an employee, adult-student, or kohai in a lesser position of authority, etc. etc. -- does that actually mean there's nothing problematic happening? Probably not. And that's not cool. It's not behaviour to be encouraged or dismissed/ignored."
Mindy’s interview has even brought up concerns about gender and double standards. “I know the 'reverse the roles' thing is looked on as a tired argument, but I think it’s beyond valid,” said one tweet. “It speaks volumes that she was just totally comfortable sharing this story on a talk show like this.”
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, one in 33 males is sexually assaulted in their lifetime – but many of them are less likely to report their victimization due to gender-based stigmas. "Males are far less likely to report their victimization and therefore far less likely to seek or obtain help," said researcher Meghan Stroshine. “Male victims are more likely than females to be victimized by a stranger and by someone of the same sex.”
Stroshine further elaborated, stating men don't usually come forward out of fear of being seen as "weak and "vulnerable." "Males may be particularly unlikely to report and come forward because victims are thought to be weak, vulnerable, unable to protect themselves and in need of help or assistance," she said. "These attributes conflict with many males’ definitions of what it means to be a ‘strong’ man in contemporary society."
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