Bill Maher booked homocon white supremacist, and alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos as a guest on his show Friday night, causing his frequent guest, journalist Jeremy Scahill, to cancel his appearance.
Maher defended the booking, and tried to explain it in a statement:
My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol,” Maher replied in a statement obtained by EW. “Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech. If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims — and he might be — nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.”
Scahill released a statement on Twitter late yesterday when he pulled out of the show.
Today I saw the news that Milo Yiannopoulos is scheduled to be the lead guest on Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. I was already scheduled to be a panelist on the program that same evening, along with Larry Wilmore and Jack Kingston. I have decided that I will not be appearing on the show. Before I explain my reasons for this, I want to say that I have had the pleasure of working as a correspondent for Real Time and over the years have been a guest or panelist many times. I have total admiration and respect for the producers, writers, and others who work on the show.
Over the past decade, the people at Real Time have become like family to me. I passionately disagree with—and find offensive— some of Bill’s views, particularly when his comments on Islam and Muslims veer into vitriol. At the same time, I have deep respect for Bill and his voice on many other issues and I believe he and his staff have created a vital platform for debate and discussion that at times I love and other times loathe. I know I fall into the latter category for some of the show’s viewers because I hear from them every time I appear. Whatever one might say about Bill, he always allows guests to challenge him or disagree with him.
But Milo Yiannopoulos is many bridges too far. He has ample venues to spew his hateful diatribes. There is no value in “debating” him. Appearing on Real Time will provide Yiannopoulos with a large, important platform to openly advocate his racist, anti-immigrant campaign. It will be exploited by Yiannopoulos in an attempt to legitimize his hateful agenda. Yiannopoulos’s appearance could also be used to incite violence against immigrants, transgender people, and others at a time when the Trump Administration is already seeking to formalize a war against some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Yiannopoulos has shown he will use his appearances to publicly attack and shame specific ordinary people by name, a practice which could lead to violence or even death. Real Time, of course, has the right to book whomever it wants on its show, including Yiannopoulos. But I cannot participate in an event that will give a platform to such a person. For these reasons, I have informed the producers of Real Time that I will not appear on the show.
—Jeremy Scahill, journalist.
Why I will not appear this week on Real Time with Bill Maher. pic.twitter.com/SOoE3udrDr
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 15, 2017