Bill Maher is the latest voice chiming in on the Academy Awards’ #OscarsSoWhite controversy, wherein none of the 20 acting nominees were for an African-American or other minority. Maher’s opinion is unique; he believes that movie studios have to make movies for a racist Asian audience.
Bill Maher was speaking with his panelist, Seth MacFarlane, a former Oscars host, on Real Time With Bill Maher, on Friday night. The conversation naturally moved to the #OscarsSoWhite issue. Although MacFarlane said that a thorough investigation would be required to know what is going on, Bill Maher was quick to speculate.
“The dirty little secret is most movies are made now with an eye to the foreign market, and Asians really are racist.”
Maher’s comments immediately earned some mild resistance from his other panelists. U.S. House Representative Alan Grayson half-jokingly shot back, “you just said they’re racist, that makes you racist.”
Bill Maher doubled down, explaining his reasoning.
“I’m just honest. They don’t want to see black people generally in their movies. The Hollywood executives are, like, ‘We’re not racist, we just have to pretend to be racists because we’re capitalists. We want to sell our movies in China (and) they don’t like Kevin Hart.'”
Panelist and Republican consultant Liz Mair followed up the initial comments saying, “You’re going to stoke a ton of outrage,” which was right on the money.
Deadline called Maher’s “Asians are racist” reasoning “whitesplaining.” Whether or not there’s any merit to Bill Maher’s theory, it might be the last year diversity is a problem for the Academy.
Shortly before the Friday show, the Oscars announced they would revamp the rules to get a more diverse groups of judges into the Academy. According to a 2012 report in the Los Angeles Times, the Academy members were 94 percent Caucasian, 77 percent male, and 54 percent are over 60-years-old (which might also be the cause of #OscarsSoWhite).
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the changes include expanding the number of members to its executive and board committees, presumably to include more women and minorities. The voting rights will officially only last a decade and can only be renewed for members who are active in the film industry.
They will also expand the number of films nominated for “best picture” and actors/actresses nominated for each acting category.
The Academy did not give any specific numbers they hoped to add to achieve their diversity goals, but they said the measures should double the number of female and minorities making the deciding votes by 2020.
The announcement came after weeks of controversy that might have hurt viewership for the awards show. Spike Lee, Will and Jada Smith, and Idris Elba all said they would be sitting home for the event. Likewise, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite went viral on Twitter. The Los Angeles Times argued that the controversy might be a boon for the show, but many others disagree.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 22, 2016
Still, others have defended the Academy Awards, saying their decisions were based on merit, not on race.
Like Seth MacFarlane explained, only a thorough investigation could come up with real answers, anything else, including Bill Maher’s theory, is just speculation.
Even Maher admitted that Hollywood itself is as liberal as it gets. It’s only when money gets in the way that they pretend to change their attitudes.
“[Hollywood has] the biggest liberals in the world, people who said they did not see 12 Years a Slave but they still voted for it because they knew it was the best picture.”
Bill Maher and his panelists also discussed Flint Michigan’s dangerous water problem, Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump, and getting President Obama on the show.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for PETA]