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Mindy Kaling Addressed The Backlash Over Her "Scooby-Doo" Spinoff Reimagining Velma As South Asian

"There are Indian nerds. It shouldn't be a surprise to people."

Posted on July 23, 2021, at 8:00 a.m. ET

Mindy Kaling is addressing the backlash she received after it was revealed the character of Velma, whom she is voicing in an upcoming Scooby-Doo spinoff series, will be reimagined as South Asian.

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

In February, HBO Max announced plans for Velma, an "adult animated comedy series" exploring Velma's origin story, with Mindy producing and voicing the beloved character.

Cartoon Network

In a statement, HBO called the series "an original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America's most beloved mystery solvers."

At the time, most people were happy with the news — but things apparently took a turn when more information about the spinoff was released last month.

"When it was announced that I was going to do the voice of Velma, people were very supportive and happy on Twitter," Mindy said during an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Thursday. "And so I felt great."

NBC / youtube.com

"These are really intense fans, you know — cartoon, comic book fans, those are huge fans," she said. "And especially [for] a legacy show like this."

"Then it was announced about a month ago that the Velma character would be reimagined as South Asian," Mindy continued. "And people were not happy."

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

"There was a lot of, like, 'So not Velma!'" she recalled. "Those kind of tweets. 'Not the classic Velma that I'm always thinking about!'"

NBC / youtube.com

"First of all," Mindy said. "I didn't know that she elicited such strong reactions in either direction."

"She's such a great character. She's so smart," she went on. "And I just couldn't understand how people couldn't imagine a really smart, nerdy girl with terrible eyesight, and who loved to solve mysteries, could be Indian."

"Like, there are Indian nerds," Mindy added. "It shouldn't be a surprise to people."

Mindy made sure to say the critics were just "a small percentage of people," but did admit that the conversation encouraged her to "be careful" with the character of Velma.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter

"It really made me think, OK, we've got to be really careful with this character," she acknowledged. "Which we will be, because we really love her."

This isn't the first time Mindy has responded to critics of her casting — in fact, back in February, she had the perfect response to a Twitter user who used a GIF from The Office to express their distaste at the notion.

NBC

"I wrote the episode of The Office this gif is from," Mindy tweeted.

Watch Mindy's Late Night appearance in full below:

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.