Brow Beat

A Troll Told Kal Penn He Didn’t Belong in America. Penn Raised $500,000 for Syrian Refugees in Response.

Kal Penn speaking at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

After a weekend of protests around the country, President Donald Trump’s horrific, unconstitutional immigration ban continues to meet intense pushback. The American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully fought for a court-ordered stay on part of the executive order on Friday night, netted $24 million in donations over the past few days, more than six times its yearly average. And during Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, artists ranging from Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Mahershala Ali to the cast of Stranger Things powerfully railed against the president’s recent actions before a national audience.

The resistance also welcomed another familiar face: Kal Penn. The actor, who briefly served in the Obama administration and currently stars in Designated Survivor, turned nasty harassment from an online troll—specifically, “you don’t belong in this country you fucking joke”—into an effective crowdfunding campaign on behalf of the International Rescue Committee. “We are better than the hateful people who tell us we don’t belong in our own country, that America can’t be a beacon of freedom and hope for refugees from around the world,” Penn’s Crowdrise post reads. “We will turn their bigotry, along with the President’s, into love.” As of 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Penn has raised over $518,000 and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Screenshot of Penn’s Crowdrise website