Bill Maher cued up fresh criticism for his own political team on this weekend’s episode of his HBO political talk show Real Time. Maher has alienated many on the left with his views toward Islam — he’s not a fan — and this latest outburst is unlikely to repair damage.
According to Maher, the continual violent protests at the University of California-Berkeley over speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and, most recently, Ann Coulter, as well as the threats to ban their talks for fear of violence have become liberals’ “version of book burning.”
“Berkeley used to be the cradle of free speech,” Maher lamented to his panel, which included conservative pundit S.E. Cupp and former Democratic politician Howard Dean. “And now it’s just the cradle for f**king babies.”
Maher blasted liberal students and the older people who facilitate them, not just at UC-Berkeley, but nationwide for attempting to shout down speakers that fail to say “exactly what liberals want to hear.”
“I feel like this is the liberals’ version of book burning, and it’s got to stop,” Maher said, before Dean cut in, noting hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Bill, seizing on the error from Dean, emphatically shot back, “Yes it is!”
In the exchange, Maher found an unlikely ally in the conservative Cupp, who chastised “safe spaces,” claiming they do not exist in the real world.
While Bill Maher has frequently set himself apart from religious people and conservatives, he is on surprisingly good terms with Cupp and Coulter.
Bill Maher is almost always wrong, but he’s spot on here. https://t.co/RnbEKFEww1
— Chris Stamper (@CStamper_) April 23, 2017
In fact, Coulter, a lightning rod on the right who frequently speaks out on illegal immigration, has appeared on Real Time and considers Bill Maher a friend.
Coulter defended Bill Maher in a heated discussion with Sean Hannity in 2015, telling the Fox News host, “I obviously don’t believe in his politics, I like him, he’s a true and loyal friend, he always has been… he bought me dinner, so I’m not going to say anything bad about it… I’m easy. I’m a cheap date.”
Maher still makes conservatives the target of most of his humor and serious criticism, but he finds common ground with them on issues of Islamic extremism and free speech.
In February, he was called out by the liberal news site Salon for various statements he had made about Muslims, saying the remarks were “beyond the pale” and labeling the comedian an “Islamophobe.”
The writer of that piece, Dan Cohen, states that since September 11, 2001, “Bill Maher has devoted himself to mainstreaming the toxic narrative of Islamophobia. With a captive audience of millions, the support of a major cable network and a steady stream of celebrity guests, including no shortage of self-styled progressives, Maher has largely succeeded in his goal.”
Maher’s past remarks concerning the religion include calling it “the motherlode of bad ideas,” referring to the Quran as a “hate-filled holy book,” and stating that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the Mafia.”
Cohen took specific issue with Maher claiming Arab men needed “to get laid more” and assuming there are no moderate Muslims despite the armies in Iraq fighting against ISIS.
— King Of Kings = Don (@DonRanes) April 17, 2017
Cohen also criticized Maher for giving a platform to alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos.
As for the free speech argument that liberals are engaging in their version of “book burning” through riots and demonstrations, do you agree or disagree with Bill Maher? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by HBO]