Mindy Kaling used the Warner Bros Discovery Upfront presentation Wednesday to let everyone know she doesn’t care what you think about her Scooby-Doo animated spinoff Velma on HBO Max. If a dog can solve crimes, she told the crowd, then her Velma “can be brown.”
“Hopefully you noticed my Velma is South Asian,” she told the crowd in New York City. “If people freak out about that, I don’t care.”
A first look of Kaling’s Velma was also shared at the presentation.
Last year, HBO Max ordered the Scooby-Doo spinoff from Kaling, who will also exec produce. Velma tells the origin story of Velma Dinkley, the unsung and underappreciated brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang. The series from Warner Bros. Animation has has Charlie Grandy, Howard Klein and Sam Register as executive producers.
After the animated show was announced, Twitter blew up with openly racist complaints about Kaling’s new project, with some pointing out how making Velma into a studious Asian nerd plays into stereotypes.
Kaling addressed the backlash during a July 2021 appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers. “When it was announced that I was going to do the voice of Velma, people were very supportive and happy on Twitter. And so I felt great,” she said. “Then it was announced a month ago that the Velma character would be reimagined as South Asian. And people were not happy. There was a lot of, like, ‘So not Velma!’ Those kind of tweets. ‘Not the classic Velma that I’m always thinking about.’”
She added that the social media debate encouraged her to “be careful” when taking on the beloved character.
Kaling already executive produces The Sex Lives of College Girls for HBO Max. Her Velma spinoff is part of HBO Max’s drive to beef up adult animation programming.
The streamer also has Clone High, the reboot of the classic MTV series with Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Bill Lawrence and Fired on Mars from Pete Davidson, as well as Harley Quinn, The Prince, Santa Inc., 10 Year Old Tom and The Boondocks.