Bill Maher Explains Support Of PETA: ‘This Country Is Overrun With Conformists. And PETA Has Never Conformed’

Bill Maher is never shy about expressing his opinions, controversial as they may be. The comedian and host of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher wrote a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter Thursday that explained his support of People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an outspoken animal rights organization.

Maher, who has served on PETA’s board for 18 years, credited the organization for bringing attention to animal abuse. He claimed that before PETA was founded 35 years ago, “you could pretty much do anything you wanted to animals, anytime, anyhow. And now you can’t.” The comedian also described PETA as a good fit for him personally because of its edgy tactics.

“PETA takes on the status quo and challenges conventional thinking. I push the envelope because the envelope needs pushing, so I love that PETA doesn’t tiptoe over the line — they jump over it with both feet.”

Maher has long been vocal about animal rights issues. Earlier this summer he paired with Brad Pitt and the organization Farm Sanctuary to urge Costco to stop selling eggs produced by caged hens. Last year, he created some controversy on The View by criticizing the horse-drawn carriage industry in New York City, engaging in an argument with co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd.

The former host of Politically Incorrect is known for getting into the political fray. He recently said that Donald Trump potentially has staying power even if Maher does not personally agree with the candidate. Trump himself told The Hollywood Reporter that he is a fan of Bill Maher’s.

“Bill Maher has been in a certain way very respectful of me. In fact, a couple of months ago, before the polls started coming out, he said, ‘He’s not goin’ away.’ Because he’s a smart guy. He gets me. He understands me.”

In his column on PETA, Maher connected his support of the organization with the American consciousness as a whole.

“PETA’s goal is to make a kinder world for animals. I agree with that. And so does my rescue dog, whom I love for a lot of reasons — one being that every time I come home, he greets me like I’m The Beatles. We need more people who stick up for the underdog and undermouse. This country is not overrun with rebels and freethinkers; it’s overrun with conformists. And PETA has never conformed. That’s why I’m right there with them, full on.”

[Photo by Christopher Polk / Getty Images Entertainment]