(UPDATE February 1: The campaign has already reached 96% of its goal with $819,000 and counting)
Most know Kal Penn from his role in the “Harold and Kumar” movies, but the actor has been active in politics as well — including, most notably, a stint as Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement between 2009 and 2011. After receiving a tweet saying “you don’t belong in this country you f*cking joke,” Penn (who was born in New Jersey) started a crowdfunding campaign for Syrian refugees — and named it “Donating to Syrian Refugees in the Name of the Dude Who Said I Don’t Belong in America.”
Donors who share Penn’s sense of humor have already helped him surpass his goal of $200,000 by pledging in the name of Steve Bannon, Melania Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump himself, among others. “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,” reads his original description. “We will turn their bigotry, along with the President’s, into love.”
In 2013, Penn was appointed to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. A few months later, he went on to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the White House Student Film Festival. As of this writing, his campaign has earned some $230,000.