The official kickoff of holiday-movie season didn't go so well for Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern, who mistook Dev Patel for Kal Penn in his review of the movie Lion. The publication quickly issued a correction, stating, “An earlier version of this article misidentified Dev Patel as appearing in Mira Nair’s The Namesake.” Unfortunately for Morgenstern, the mix up had already been widely noted by trade pub Variety, and, of course, Twitter. Twitter user @kelvindchen noticed the error this morning and tweeted to Morgenstern: "@JoeMorgenstern Dev Patel wasn't in the Namesake. Did you mean the other brown actor (@kalpenn) or other brown film? :( #wsj #lionmovie."
Pulitzer Prize-winning Morgenstern responded, calling his mistake "a dumb error."
While both actors are of Indian descent, they have had vastly different careers and were also born in different countries. Patel, 26, who portrays Saroo Brierley in Lion is British. Penn, 39 — best known for his roles in How I Met Your Mother and the Harold and Kumar films — is from New Jersey. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that members of the media have mistaken actors of color for one another. In December 2015, the official Golden Globes Twitter account confused Latina actors America Ferrera for Gina Rodriguez when announcing nominations. Twice.