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Penn. School Board Cancels Anti-Bullying Talk From Actor Maulik Pancholy Cuz Of His 'Lifestyle'

By Emily Richardson | Celebrity | April 18, 2024 |

By Emily Richardson | Celebrity | April 18, 2024 |


Maulik Pancholy, best known for his roles on 30 Rock and Phineas and Ferb, was set to give an anti-bullying talk at Mountain View Middle School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, on May 22. Unfortunately, during a public meeting on Monday, the Cumberland Valley School District unanimously voted to disinvite Maulik. The reason? Concerns about the actor’s political activism and “lifestyle.” And, yes, Maulik is gay, what gave it away?

In addition to acting, 50-year-old Maulik is an author and activist. He’s written two novels: Nikhil Out Loud and The Best At It. Both middle school-age books have gay lead characters and tackle small-town homophobia.

Maulik was also on Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (he resigned not long after Trump was elected), is active with several non-profits, and is the Chair and Co-Founder of the anti-bullying organization, Act to Change. His website says he delivers keynote speeches “on the topic of diversity and inclusion”. Wouldn’t that make him the perfect person to give a speech at an anti-bullying assembly? Not according to all eight members of the Cumberland Valley school board.

During Monday’s meeting, board member Bud Shaffner said:

“If you research this individual, he labels himself as an activist, he is proud of his lifestyle and I don’t think that should be imposed upon our students, at any age.”

Another board member, Kelly Potteiger, expressed her worry that Maulik would talk about his books: “It’s not discriminating against his lifestyle - that’s his choice, but it’s him speaking about it.” Got it. So it’s toootally OK if Maulik chooses to be gay, but he shouldn’t go so far as to talk about it. Especially within earshot of Pennsylvania’s dear, precious children.

A bunch of the board members agreed that “politics” have no place in the classroom. Member Matthew Barrick was especially passionate about this point:

“We shouldn’t have any political activism. Whenever I was campaigning and going door-to-door, what I told everybody that I talked to was, ‘We need to get politics out of our school.’ In this case, why would we invite someone who considers themselves a ‘political activist’ to come and talk to our children at our school? Get politics out of our schools!”

Here’s video of the meeting, which is just… infuriating:

And here’s a pic of these morons, just to shame ‘em:

school board.png

The school district’s spokesperson, Tracy Panzer, told TODAY that Maulik’s visit wasn’t on the meeting’s original agenda. She explained that one member motioned to rescind his invite, and the entire board agreed.

Following the meeting, one former Mountain View Middle School parent, Trisha Comstock (she’s the one that also posted the vid) started a petition to reinstate the anti-bullying assembly.

Brooke Ryerson, a former student and member of the LGBTQIA+ community, expressed her intention to attend the next board meeting to protest their decision. Another former student, Tony Conte, shared an open letter to Bud Shaffner on Facebook (trigger warning: Tony writes about considering suicide):

Maulik has yet to comment on the school board’s decision.