Several weeks after a New Yorker article raised questions about the authenticity of his comedy standup, Hasan Minhaj has chosen to address the allegations in a 20-minute video uploaded to his Instagram account on a Thursday. In this video, Minhaj firmly refutes the claims made in the article, describing them as “needlessly misleading.” You can find the video linked below.
Acknowledging the current global turmoil, Minhaj opens the video with, “With everything that’s happening in the world, I’m aware even talking about this now feels so trivial.” Nevertheless, he stresses that being accused of “faking racism” is a serious matter that requires an explanation.
Minhaj directly addresses the readers of the New Yorker article, stating, “To everyone who read that article, I want to answer the biggest question that’s probably on your mind: Is Hasan Minhaj secretly a psycho? Underneath all that pomp, is Hasan Minhaj, just a con artist who uses fake racism and Islamophobia to advance his career? Because after reading that article, I would also think that.”
He continues, “I just want to say to anyone who felt betrayed or hurt by my stand-up, I am sorry. I made artistic choices to express myself and drive home larger issues affecting me and my community, and I feel horrible that I let people down.”
Minhaj emphasizes his remorse, asserting, “The reason I feel horrible is because I’m not a psycho. But this New Yorker article definitely made me look like one. It was so needlessly misleading, not just about my stand-up but also about me as a person.”
Minhaj goes on to dispute the way the New Yorker portrayed three specific stories in their article: the anthrax scare he discussed in his 2022 Netflix special, “Hasan Minhaj: The King’s Jester,” the FBI informant story shared in the same special, and the prom anecdote from his 2017 special, “Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King.”
He asserts, “The truth is, racism, FBI surveillance, and threats to my family happened, and I said this on the record.”
In response to Minhaj’s video, the New Yorker issued a statement on a platform, X (formerly known as Twitter), defending their reporting: “Hasan Minhaj confirms in this video that he selectively presents information and embellishes to make a point: exactly what we reported. Our piece, which includes Minhaj’s perspective at length, was carefully reported and fact-checked. It is based on interviews with more than twenty people, including former Patriot Act and Daily Show staffers; members of Minhaj’s security team; and people who have been the subject of his standup work, including the former F.B.I. informant ‘Brother Eric’ and the woman at the center of his prom-rejection story. We stand by our story.”
Minhaj’s Netflix special, “Homecoming King,” includes a story in which he asks a white girl to prom, only to be told by her mother that her daughter won’t go with him due to fears of being seen with someone of a different ethnicity.
“Bethany’s mom really did say that — it was just a few days before prom,” he clarifies. “I created the doorstep scene to drop the audience into the feeling of that moment, which I told the reporter.”
In the video, Minhaj explains his decision to respond to these allegations now, amid ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, citing the questions people have posed about his credibility.
“Going forward, will I be more thoughtful about sticking to the facts in my storytelling? Absolutely,” he assures. “I have no problem with honest, good-faith critique because I am always trying to improve as a performer and as a person. Look, the guy in this article is a proper… psycho. But I now hope you feel like the real me is not.”