The 43-year-old Mindy Kaling joked about kissing a co-star and abusing power in an old interview.
Mindy Kaling has had an interesting couple of months regarding the public’s opinion of her, facing plenty of criticism for comments about The Office and her new show, Velma.
Now, after a clip from an old interview resurfaced, Kaling is being called out once again—this time for saying that she kissed a co-star on set without their consent.
The old clip is from an interview with Conan O’Brien on his late-night show Conan, during which Kaling is asked about her position as creator, writer, and star in The Mindy Project.
O’Brien asked Kaling, “Do you ever feel like having that much power on your show has led to you being unprofessional? Because power can corrupt.”
She goes on to tell the story of when actor Lee Pace appeared in an episode as someone from Kaling’s character’s past. The two filmed a normal scene together, just talking.
Kaling described the situation: “We’re just supposed to be having a conversation. But he’s so tall and he’s so handsome that in the middle of that he was just supposed to be like, ‘What do you think, Mindy?’ and I was like—”
The 43-year-old then mimed kissing Pace.
She went on, “I improvised just kissing him in the scene, which was not in the script. He was looming above me and he asked me a question and I was not listening to him at all, because who cares what he was saying? I was like mhm, mhm, mwah.”
Kaling described Pace as looking shocked before she walked backstage, encountering two writers who told her, “Hey man, what are you doing?! You could be sued for that!”
The actress and producer said of what happened next, “And I got very scared. Then I said: ‘Tell anyone and you’re fired.’”
Both Kaling and O’Brien laughed at this, with the latter saying that she “got away with it.”
Obviously, many people took issue with this moment when it resurfaced, criticizing Kaling for admitting to sexually assaulting a co-star at work.
One TikTok user, @rileydismore, responded to the clip, saying, “Oh that’s gross. It’s not funny, it’s not cheeky. No, that’s really gross. Like, you said ‘tell anyone, you’re fired’ because you sexually assaulted somebody.”
Others shared similar thoughts in the comments, as one person said, “This is so insane that she literally told it on tv like she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong w it like ???? I just can’t.”
“Omg I cannot believe she admitted so nonchalantly like that 😳,” said another.
As of writing, Kaling has not shared any response to the new criticism.