Update 10:30 am Kal Penn’s fundraising page for Syrian refugees has surpassed its $250,000 goal, with $251,052 in donations by mid-Sunday morning. “I’m speechless,” Penn tweeted, noting that the amount is a hundred times more than the page’s original $25,000 goal. “How’s that for showing the world who we are?” The page, which reached the amended goal of $250,000 in less than 24 hours, remains open.
Update 8:47 am Penn’s fundraising page just passed the $200K mark, hitting $201,666.
Previous Kal Penn, the Harold & Kumar actor who served as a public engagement advisor to President Barack Obama, has turned a troll’s racist tweet into nearly $200,000 for Syrian refugees.
Yesterday, Penn — born Kalpen Suresh Modi in Montclair, New Jersey— received a bigoted tweet that said, in part, “you don’t belong in this country you f*cking joke.” Penn responded by starting a CrowdRise fundraising page in the bigot’s honor, and donations started coming immediately.
The fundraising page is headlined “Donating To Syrian Refugees In The Name Of The Dude Who Said I Don’t Belong In America.” Money benefits the International Rescue Committee, with Penn’s explanation stating, “We
are better than the hateful people who tell us we don’t belong in our own country, that America can’t be a beacon of freedom and hope for refugees from around the world. We will turn their bigotry, along with the President’s, into love.”
By Sunday morning, the page had raised $199,566, 80% of its $250,000.
Penn tweeted periodically through Saturday, noting that that $5,000 was raised during the page’s first half-hour. Later, he gave “props” to donors who pledged money in the names of Steve Bannon, Melania Trump, Kellyanne Conway and the president himself.
Here’s Penn’s original tweet:
The fundraising page is here.