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School Board Cancels Gay Actor’s Anti-Bullying Talk Over His ‘Lifestyle’

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nytimes.com

A Pennsylvania school board canceled an anti-bullying speech by the actor Maulik Pancholy, who is gay, after board members raised concerns about his “lifestyle,” prompting outrage from the surrounding community.

The Cumberland Valley School District school board voted unanimously to pass a motion to cancel Mr. Pancholy’s speaking event next month at Mountain View Middle School in Mechanicsburg, a community of about 9,000 people roughly 100 miles west of Philadelphia.

The board drew criticism after the members voiced what some called homophobic concerns about Mr. Pancholy’s activism and his lifestyle.

Mr. Pancholy played the obsequious assistant to Alec Baldwin’s character on the TV show “30 Rock” and voiced Baljeet in the cartoon “Phineas and Ferb.” He is also an author who has written children’s books, including one called “The Best At It,” about a gay Indian American boy named Rahul and his experience dealing with bullying in a small Midwest town. “He labels himself as an activist who is proud of his lifestyle and I don’t think that should be imposed on our students,” said Bud Shaffner, a board member at the Monday evening meeting.

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