’30 Rock’ Actor And Anti-Bullying Activist Canceled By Homophobic School Board

Author, actor and activist Maulik Pancholy was disinvited from a speaking engagement at a Pennsylvania school over his ’lifestyle’
’30 Rock’ Actor And Anti-Bullying Activist Canceled By Homophobic School Board

The entire bigoted board of the Cumberland Valley School District better hope Jack Donaghy doesn’t hear about this.

Maulik Pancholy is an openly gay actor, author and activist who co-founded the anti-bullying campaign Act to Change while serving on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in 2014. Pancholy has worked to combat discrimination, hate and abuse toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, especially in the months following the outbreak of COVID-19, and he also wrote the middle grade novel The Best at It, which tells the story of a gay Indian-American boy growing up in a small town in Indiana. 

30 Rock fans would best know Pancholy as the actor who played Jonathan, Jack’s obsessive and fawning assistant, but schools across the country have known him to be an emphatic advocate for empathy and anti-bullying in assemblies and speeches for students.

But one such school that booked Pancholy to speak to their students about empathy and understanding found a distinct lack of it from their school board. On Monday, Pancholy was disinvited from a scheduled appearance at Mountain View Middle School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania by the district’s school board who unanimously voted to cancel the event, citing their intolerance of his “lifestyle” in the decision. They’ll be singing a different tune once Jack drops his “bombshell.”

“He is proud of his lifestyle, and I don’t think that should be imposed upon our students at any age,” mouth-breathing bigot and Cumberland Valley School District Board Member Bud Shaffner said of Pancholy at Monday’s public meeting, also citing Pancholy’s status as a self-described “activist” as a reason why Pancholy shouldn’t try to teach Mechanicsburg’s children how not to be assholes like Bud Shaffner.

“It’s not discriminating against his lifestyle, that’s his choice,” board member Kelly Potteiger disingenuously said of her decision to vote against the assembly. “But it’s him speaking about it.” 

Since bullying is now on the table in Mechanicsburg, maybe Potteiger would be less triggered by gay people existing in public if her headshot didn’t look like every single one of her limited brain cells is busy trying to rationalize why her husband came home from his “fishing trip” with glitter in his beard.

Critically, if you actually look at Pancholy’s website and the “activist” tab that so upset this backwards school board, you’ll see the credits and endorsements of a professional and accomplished public speaker who has devoted his life to teaching empathy and combating bullying. Nowhere on the page does he describe his sex life, or list his methods on how to turn children gay, or peddle a book on how to do drag at recess. Pancholy is, plain and simple, an anti-bullying activist who is also gay. 

Thankfully, the bigoted school board doesnt represent all of Mechanicsburg. In her Change.org petition to reinstate the speaking engagement, local parent Trisha Comstock wrote, “Being LGBTQ+ isnt a dirty little secret to protect our students from. To have someone with Mauliks life experiences would have been inspirational for our students. It is important that we teach our children about diversity and acceptance from an early age.” 


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