Actor Kal Pann went on MSNBC to talk about raising $500,000 for Syrian refugees in respond to a racist tweet he received this weekend
Credit: MSNBC

Saturday afternoon, actor Kal Penn launched a CrowdRise fundraising page to raise money for the International Rescue Committee in response to a racist tweet he received after posting about President Donald Trump’s immigration order. By Monday morning, the page had received over half a million dollars.

Someone told Penn, “You don’t belong in this country you f—ing joke,” and he then responded by tweeting, “To the dude who said I don’t belong in America, I started a fundraising page for Syrian Refugees in your name.” He elaborated on what was going through his head at that time in an interview with MSNBC Monday.

“I’m reading this comment, and I’m thinking, ‘Well, that’s stupid,'” he said. “We’ve seen an uptick in this kind of anti-American rhetoric of ‘you don’t belong here’ and ‘you’re not American’ and all that nonsense. I kind of thought, well, I’m a relatively privileged guy, this can roll off my back. But what about the 14-year-old me? Or the American kids out there who see these kinds of comments?”

“So I kind of thought, the country I know and love is not the country that tolerates this kind of stuff,” he continued. “So maybe we can raise 2,500 bucks.”

Within about 20 minutes, Penn said, they raised the goal of $2,500. As of noon ET Monday, more than $550,000 has been donated.

“These are people who presumably read that tweet and saw the page, and thought, that is also the country I know and love as being against a hateful comment like that,” Penn said. “And I thought that was such a beautiful thing.”

Penn’s CrowdRise page is still accepting donations here. See a clip from his MSNBC interview below.