CBS’ sitcom United States of Al hasn’t premiered yet but the Chuck Lorre-produced show is already coming under attack for its portrayal of its Afghan protagonist, who is played by a non-Afghan actor. The controversy has become so acrimonious that series executive producer and former CNN personality Reza Aslan has publicly defended the show against the attacks.
United States of Al, which is set to debut April 1, tells the story of a Marine veteran (Parker Young) who has returned home to Ohio, and his friendship with his Afghan interpreter, Awalmir, who is a new arrival in the country. The character Awalmir is played by actor Adhir Kalyan, a South African of Indian descent.
The casting of a non-Afghan actor to play an Afghani has run afoul the woke police and generated enough social media outrage to prompt Reza Aslan to defend the casting choice.
“There are five Afghan characters in the show and four of them are played by Afghans,” Aslan tweeted. “We saw 100 Afghan leads but sitcom is a specialized genre and it’s very tough to play. But we also have four Afghan writers/producers on the show who’ve done a great job helping Adhir.”
There are five Afghan characters in the show and four of them are played by Afghans. We saw 100 Afghan leads but sitcom is a specialized genre and it’s very tough to play. But we also have four Afghan writers/producers on the show who’ve done a great job helping Adhir. https://t.co/bGej9bcN3B
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) March 21, 2021
The show’s trailer has provoked a range of accusations, with people alleging racism and the glorification of U.S. military occupation.
This is so ridiculous and offensive I don’t have the words to express just how terribly bad this is on every conceivable level.
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. قاسم رشید (@QasimRashid) March 20, 2021
It truly is Chuck Lorre. Plus America’s general disdain for comedy that’s smart, cutting edge, & maybe not shockingly racist and/or otherwise offensive. He has a stranglehold on the network, and the taste level is so low that even some of my fave actors on his shows are minimized https://t.co/d2plMRCs1s
— @PiaGlenn (@PiaGlenn) March 20, 2021
gotta love sitcoms romanticizing occupation forces and the relationships they build along the way :’ ) https://t.co/4Fmh14Fd3N
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) March 20, 2021
As Breitbart News has reported, Chuck Lorre has used his shows to attack then-President Donald Trump and members of the administration. The uber TV producer used the end credits of The Big Bang Theory to bash President Trump, calling him a “gangster-in-chief.”
He also mocked Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Christian faith and looks during another episode of The Big Bang Theory.