Mindy Kaling has addressed the backlash over her voice role as Velma in a new Scooby-Doo series.
It was announced in February that the 42-year-old actress would voice Scooby-Doo’s Velma Dinkley in a standalone animated HBO Max series about the brainy character, with Mindy also set to produce.
And in an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Thursday, The Office star explained to the host that while there was lots of support about her taking on the role, some people had an issue with Velma being played by an Indian actress.
“When it was announced that I was going to do the voice of Velma, people were very supportive and happy on Twitter and so I felt great,” Mindy said. “Then it was announced about a month ago that the Velma character would be reimagined as South Asian, and people were not happy.”
She continued: “There was a lot of, like, ‘So not Velma!’ Those kind of tweets. ‘Not the classic Velma that I’m always thinking about!’ First of all, I didn’t know that she elicited such strong reactions, in either direction. She’s such a great character, she’s so smart. And I just couldn’t understand how people couldn’t imagine a really smart, nerdy girl with terrible eyesight and loved to solve mysteries could not be Indian. Like, there are Indian nerds. It shouldn’t be a surprise to people.”
While Mindy was quick to add that the criticism came from a small section of fans, she said, “It really made me think, ‘Okay, we’ve got to be really careful with this character, which we will be because we really love her and she’s going to have great adventures.'”
In a statement, HBO officials called the series “an original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colourful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers.”
– Cover Media