Author Suketu Mehta accuses US commentator of misrepresenting his article to back anti-immigration law

By Agency Published on Jun 20, 2018 12:48 PM IST

New York: Indian-American author Suketu Mehta has lambasted conservative commentator Ann Coulter for "misrepresenting" a 2011 article he wrote about an immigrant from Africa and citing it as an evidence to her claim that immigrant children being separated from their parents at the US border are 'child actors.'

Mehta responded strongly on Twitter and in media reports to Coulter wrongly citing his article following her appearance on a Fox News show on Sunday. During the show, Coulter had referred to the migrant children being separated from their parents at the US border as these child actors weeping and crying on all the other networks 24/7 right now. Looking into the camera, she asked President Donald Trump to not fall for it.

Coulter went on to say how these kids are being coached, they're given scripts to read by liberals, and then cited Mehta's story published nearly seven years ago in The New Yorker magazine. She later posted a link to Mehta's article on Twitter.

In the article, Mehta had written about an African woman who had falsely claimed that she was raped in order to gain asylum in the United States.

Lashing out against Coulter for misrepresenting his article, Mehta tweeted, "If you had 3 functioning brain cells, @AnnCoulter, you wouldn't be mentioning my New Yorker article about asylum to support your racist positions. It's not about child actors, it's about narratives demanded of adults by a broken asylum system."

"Dear @AnnCoulter, may I suggest our excellent ESL classes at NYU, since you clearly are incapable of comprehending my @NewYorker piece, which has NO child actors, and NO liberals reading scripts to them. If you're unable to read, you can listen," Mehta said in another tweet, which had an audio clip of him talking about his article.

"For @Cernovich, @DonaldJTrumpJr , @BreitbartNews and anyone else misrepresenting my @NewYorker piece: READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE before you make a fool of yourself for citing it," he said in another tweet.

A New York Times article cited an email response from Mehta, in which he said that Coulter 'grossly misrepresents my writing' and that his article 'substantiates none of her despicable stances on Trump's child hostages.'

"My article illustrates the complexities of the asylum system," Mehta said, "and how even those with a legitimate claim to asylum are forced to create or embellish narratives that will satisfy the whims of a broken system."

In a report in BuzzFeed News, Mehta said he was 'really shocked' to see Coulter using his New Yorker piece, which has no child actors, no liberals toting scripts to be read by child actors.

"I don't know if she knows how to read, but she clearly hasn't read my New Yorker article," he said.

Mehta said in the BuzzFeed article that the point of the article had been to highlight the problems inherent in a "broken asylum system [that] demands a certain kind of narrative" of people seeking asylum in the United States.

"It's a very nuanced, complicated piece and 'nuance' and 'Ann Coulter' do not belong in the same sentence," Mehta said.