Time 100 Gala: Hasan Minhaj Calls Out Jared Kushner For Ties to Saudi Prince

Hasan Minhaj-Times 100 Most Influential People-Getty handout-H 2019
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Sandra Oh also praised Beyonce during the gala where Khalid and Taylor Swift served as performers.

Past and current honorees — from Emilia Clarke to Rami Malek — celebrated Time Magazine's 2019 100 Most Influential People at the Time 100 gala in New York City on Tuesday night at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

As one of the six awardees selected to be on the cover, comedian Hasan Minhaj delivered a speech that discreetly called out White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who made the list and was in attendance at the event. 

"I’m very lucky, I’m very lucky that I get to be here in America and I can make jokes about very powerful leaders, and I have the safety of being here in America," Minhaj said, adding that others like Loujain Al-Hathloul, a Saudi activist who helped fight to lift the women’s driving ban only to be imprisoned, aren't so lucky.

Minhaj also mentioned that he was in "a very powerful room," and that perhaps someone could reach out to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to encourage the release of al-Hathloul.

“I know there’s a lot of very powerful people here, and it would be crazy if there was a high-ranking official in the White House that could WhatsApp MBS and say, 'Hey, maybe you could help that person get out of prison because they don’t deserve it,'" Minhaj said. "But hey, that person would have to be in the room. It’s just a good comedy premise."

Minhaj's fellow cover honoree Sandra Oh also gave a pointed speech, though hers was admittedly more lighthearted.

"I was actually going to do this toast and toast my mother and all immigrant mothers, and I’d written a lot of warm and grateful loving words," Oh said. "But ladies and gentlemen, I just watched Beyonce’s Homecoming."

Oh went to on to encourage everyone in the audience to watch the Netflix documentary because "you're witnessing an artist at her most potent" who is "working on the deepest cultural level."

She added that "concert" was too small a word to describe what Beyonce did.

"Seeing those beautiful bodies, those souls up onstage; the exhilaration and defiance in the music — oh my god. The freedom and the guts in the bodies and the movement," Oh said. "The documentary follows the process and the work and the toll it takes to create. And it is, for me, viscerally inspiring. Beyonce shows me what you can create when you give your all and you make space for others to do the same."

Oh wrapped up the speech with a final nod to the singer. "Art can transform us, and through us, our culture," she said. "So, I love you mom, but tonight I raise a glass to Beyonce."

Dwayne Johnson also dedicated his speech not to one person, but rather to a group of people: "The ones in the seats." Growing up, Johnson explained he often found himself sitting back and watching his father and grandfather, along with his onscreen heroes Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford.

"I mean, when Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark hit, I thought, 'I want to be that guy. I want to be Indiana Jones.' But again, in the seats," he said. "And now, I get to be the guy — so blessed and so lucky. I’m the luckiest son of a bitch in the room. People all over the world now, are sitting in the seats, watching me."

Swift and Khalid each took the stage to perform a few of their hits. Khalid described making the TIME 100 list as "a blessing."

"It's amazing. I can't believe it," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I mean, hopefully, this is the start of something bigger for me."

Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of Givenchy who designed Meghan Markle's wedding gown, was also honored at the event. Accompanied by Julianne Moore, whom she frequently dresses, the two sang each other's praises. "I love her clothes so much," Moore said. "There’s never anything that I don’t want to wear. And it’s so easy to wear, too." She added, "Claire makes you feel like the coolest girl in the world."