Gay actor’s anti-bullying speech at Pennysylvania school reinstated amid backlash

Gay actor’s anti-bullying speech at Pennysylvania school reinstated amid backlashGay actor’s anti-bullying speech at Pennysylvania school reinstated amid backlash
via maulikpancholy (left), (right)
After facing intense backlash, a Pennsylvania school board reversed its decision to cancel a gay actor’s scheduled speech on bullying.
Key points:
  • Actor Maulik Pancholy was set to speak at an anti-bullying assembly at Mountain View Middle School.
  • The Cumberland Valley School Board decided to cancel Pancholy’s speech, raising concerns about his sexuality and activism.
  • Following criticisms from school officials and students, the board held a meeting and voted in favor of reinstating the speech.
The details:
  • Pancholy, 50, is an openly gay, Indian American actor and activist, known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “Phineas and Ferb.”
  • The board initially decided to cancel his speech due to purported potentially inappropriate topics he might discuss.
  • Board member Kelly Potteiger, who campaigned as part of the right-wing activist group Moms for Liberty, raised concerns about Pancholy’s focus on LGBTQ+ themes in his children’s books. She expressed worry that he would use the anti-bullying assembly as a platform to discuss these topics, despite his assurances to the contrary.
  • “He is proud of his lifestyle, and I don’t think that should be imposed upon our students, at any age,” board member Bud Shaffner said during a meeting, according to Pennlive.
  • The cancellation was met with a strong negative response from the community, including students and 10 Cumberland Valley School District officials.
  • “We believe that Mr. Pancholy’s assembly should have been allowed to happen and that all of our staff and students should be proud to be part of a school community that values who they are,” the officials said in a statement.
  • A petition to reinstate Pancholy’s talk has collected nearly 10,000 signatures, as of this writing.
  • A special board meeting was held on April 24, with members voting 5-4 to let Pancholy deliver his speech. 
  • “I’m deeply grateful,” Pancholy wrote on Instagram following the reversal. “I was especially moved by every single student who showed immense courage stepping up to the podiums.”

What’s next:
  • Pancholy is expected to deliver his anti-bullying speech at Mountain View Middle School on May 22.
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