Everyone Is Hating on Mindy Kaling and Not Just for 'Velma' — We Dig Into the Controversy

Between ‘Velma’ and recent rumors of using Ozempic, controversy surrounding Mindy Kaling is front and center. We explore the Kaling controversy.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jan. 26 2023, Published 1:17 p.m. ET

Mindy Kaling
Source: Getty Images

Of all the celebrities in recent years that tend to be divisive, Mindy Kaling has come out on top as of late. Thanks to the poorly received Velma series on HBO Max, as well as various small incidents throughout the years, Velma seems to be the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back when it comes to fans’ love for Mindy.

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Not only that, but recent weight loss photos and videos from Mindy have led to speculation that she’s using Ozempic, a type 2 diabetes medication, for weight loss. Between the new Ozempic rumors and the Velma criticism, controversy around Mindy Kaling’s characters and style is finally front and center.

Velma and Fred in 'Velma'
Source: HBO Max
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The main controversy surrounding Mindy Kaling is about how she creates her characters, which carries into ‘Velma.’

While the world was enchanted with Mindy when many of us met her in The Office as the hilarious, boy-crazy Kelly Kapoor, Mindy’s name and persona have since preceded her, and not always in a good way. Her biggest project after The Office was aptly titled The Mindy Project, in which Mindy played an OBGYN version of herself, in which she’s a self-absorbed, insecure Indian woman who loves white men and hates her culture.

Mindy and Danny in 'The Mindy Project'
Source: Hulu

Mindy and Danny in 'The Mindy Project'

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Then, Mindy created Never Have I Ever, which follows Devi, a self-absorbed, insecure Indian teen who loves white (and Asian) boys and wants to disown her culture. After that, she created The Sex Lives of College Girls, and one of those college girls is Bela, a self-absorbed, insecure Indian young woman who loves white men and disregards her culture. Do we see a pattern? Yes, of course. And now that Mindy’s characterization of Velma seems to follow suit, fans are getting fed up with this caricature.

Devi and Paxton in 'Never Have I Ever'
Source: Netflix

Devi and Paxton in 'Never Have I Ever'

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Some viewers suggest that this new stereotype of the Indian woman who hates her Indian heritage does more harm than good for Indian representation in the media. At first, The Mindy Project was lauded for creating an Indian character whose entire identity wasn’t defined by her heritage. However, as Mindy’s pattern of characters continues, viewers are also interested in seeing Southeast Asian characters who do love their cultures.

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While it’s a fair criticism, this has begun to overshadow Mindy’s success as a writer and producer on other projects, such as The Office and her adaptation of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Not only that, but while Mindy wrote and created the three aforementioned series, she is neither writer nor the creator of Velma. Her biggest hand in the new series is as an executive producer, but for those who want to critique the writing, story, or character minutiae, Mindy is not the person behind all that.

Mindy was also the executive producer of Definition Please in 2020, which has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and follows very different Indian characters from what Mindy’s persona has become. So is it fair to blame Mindy for capitalizing on her success in creating this unique caricature of herself?

Plus, viewers can miss the minutiae of these characters and how they try to reconcile their cultures with the norms of what it means to be “cool,” “funny,” or “sexy” set out by society.

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'Definition Please'
Source: Netflix

Still from 'Definition Please'

On top of that, actor-writers like Seth Rogan, Kevin Hart, and more, who also often play and write the same type of character don’t get hit with the same amount of vitriol as Mindy. With one of the first comedy series ever to star a Southeast Asian woman, it seems that Mindy has also opened doors for other Indian creators and women of color to be able to tell their own stories.

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The newest bit of controversy around Mindy Kaling has to do with rumors of taking Ozempic.

Completely unrelated to her career as a writer, Mindy is now under fire for losing a lot of weight quite quickly. (Because naturally, our society loves to criticize women who weigh “too much,” but then when they lose the weight, it’s not “natural.”) There are rumors that not only has Mindy used Ozempic to lose weight, but she’s allegedly hosted “Ozempic parties.”

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There’s no evidence of these parties, but the former is driven by reports of celebrities who used Ozempic as a weight loss drug. This came after Kim Kardashian “bragged” about losing 16 pounds in three weeks for the Met Gala.

Ozempic is a medication prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes that helps control sugar levels by producing more insulin in the pancreas. A side effect of this can be weight loss, and it’s now being marketed as a weight loss drug.

Mindy Kaling before & after
Source: Getty Images / Instagram/@mindykaling

Mindy Kaling in 2021 (left) and in 2023 (right)

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However, there are now shortages of Ozempic in pharmacies, and those who need it for diabetes are having trouble obtaining the drug that many others are using for vanity. While there are rumors about Mindy, she has been on a weight loss journey for over a year, with a gradual change. In 2022, she told PEOPLE that once she let go of losing weight for vanity purposes, she lost weight just because she was thinking about her own health and enjoying exercise.

So whether the rumors of Mindy’s weight loss due to Ozempic are founded in any sort of truth, and whether or not it’s fair to conflate her persona with the failures of Velma, there’s one thing we can say for sure. It’s that Mindy is not only one of the most successful female creators of color but one of the most successful comedic creators in general.

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