“Tell anyone and you are fired”: ‘Velma’ Star Mindy Kaling Forced a Kiss on Co-Star Without Consent, Threatened to Fire Him if He Sued Her

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Mindy Kaling, who rose to mainstream fame by starring in The Office, has quite a lot to say when it comes to her shows. In 2012, the actress and comedian proceeded to create and star in the show, The Mindy Project, which achieved a successful stay since its debut on Fox. However, with time, Kaling became the fodder for mass backlash and criticism that snowballed due to her controversial past. With the release of Velma, the Indian-American actress is only being pushed more into the spotlight as she, alongside her latest HBO Max release, becomes the talk of the town.

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Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling

Also read: ‘In no way is the gang defined by their whiteness’: Velma Actor Mindy Kaling Claps Back at Racist Trolls, Says Indian-American Girls Can Identify With Her

Mindy Kaling Admits to Unscripted Kissing Scenes On Conan

The adoration for Mindy Kaling had been foundational upon her debut role as the confidently “clingy” (and sometimes disturbing) persona of Kelly Kapoor whom people knew from The Office. But over the years, the fandom for this rising artist and talented comedian began to be muddied up by some of the things that she would later go on to admit – and display – while appearing on screen.

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The Mindy Project
The Mindy Project (2012-17)

The pattern began to emerge with The Mindy Project in which she improvised kissing a guest star in a scene but later swept it under the rug when the show’s producers confronted her about it. In a 2016 appearance on Conan, she recounts the scene on air:

“I improvised just kissing [Lee Pace] in the scene, which was not in the script. He was just looming above me, and he asked me a question, I was not listening to him at all because who cares what he was saying, and I was just like ‘mhmm, mhmm,’ [and kissed him]. And well, he reacted [shocked] and I pretended it didn’t happen, and then I walked backstage [where] we have two writer-producers.

And they’re like, “Hey man, what are you doing?! You could be sued for that!” And I got very scared and I said, “Tell anyone, and you’re fired.” I think he might have been like did-it-happen-or-did-it-not so I just didn’t need our side to confirm it or anything.”

These claims were brought under widespread hate and backlash, especially since it sets a dangerous precedent in a time as volatile as today surrounding the industry and its people in power.

Lee Pace on The Mindy Project
Lee Pace on The Mindy Project

Also read: “That show is so inappropriate now”: Mindy Kaling Reveals Why The Office is Still Popular, Claims Series Has a Taboo Notion That Makes it Evergreen

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The Controversial Past of Velma Star, Mindy Kaling

In 2012, Mindy Kaling made somewhat similar claims on Conan while speaking about the rules set by intimacy coordinators that she likes to break on screen. She joked about her role as the creator and producer of The Mindy Project saying, Yeah, and when I [kiss with tongue] on the show now, it’s like the worse kind of sexual harassment because I’m like the boss. And they’re scared to complain because I’ll fire them.” 

People on Reddit had commented on Kaling’s portrayal of roles that are largely obsessed with white men – “She constantly uses the same tired tropes in her work. The self-hating Indian girl who is obsessed with the slightly abusive white guy. It’s giving colonizer raceplay at this point.”

The actress had also been brought under fire for incorporating transphobic and anti-Semitic one-liners within her shows like Velma and Never Have I Ever. She was also publicly called out for liking a JK Rowling tweet in 2022.

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Mindy Kaling with Never Have I Ever star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
Mindy Kaling with Never Have I Ever star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (L)

Also read: “She has unresolved sexual tension with a lot of characters”: Mindy Kaling Hilariously Reacts to Velma Backlash For Making Her South Asian, Claims Vast Majority is Excited About the Character

Kaling had in the past acknowledged in her since-deleted blog post that she was “way conservative”. The claims had led to people taking her to mean she was Republican, leading to widespread comments on social media. In 2012, producer Michael Schur [The Office] admitted in a Vulture interview that the actress was “very pro-gun” which added to the multitude of reasons why the popular crowd began to have a fallout with the actress after their brief romance with Kaling over the course of the latter’s stint in The Office.

The Mindy Project is available on Hulu. Her latest release, Velma, is now streaming on HBO Max.

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Source: Conan

Diya Majumdar

Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1686

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has over 1600 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for music, Monet, and Van Gogh.