The host of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” released a statement responding to journalist Jeremy Scahill’s decision to cancel his appearance on the show in protest of Maher’s booking Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos.
In a statement made on Twitter, Scahill, founder of the left-leaning news site The Intercept and a frequent “Real Time” guest, said that while he has “deep respect” for Maher, he “passionately disagree(s) with—and find(s) offensive— some of Bill’s views, particularly when his comments on Islam and Muslims veer into vitriol.”
Maher defended his decision, saying in a statement:
“My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol. Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill who’s[sic] 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 called booking Yiannopoulos “many bridges too far,” and voiced concerns that an appearance on “Real Time” would provide the right-wing flame thrower with “a large, important platform to openly advocate his racist, anti-immigrant campaign.” Scahill added that the appearance could also “incite violence against immigrants [and] transgender people.”
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 15, 2017
Yiannopoulos is booked as the top-of-show guest, a one-on-one segment with Maher. Earlier this month, Yiannopoulos’ planned speech at the UC Berkeley was canceled after protests. Along with his anti-Muslim rhetoric, Yiannopoulos has also angered the LGBTQ community by using derogatory language towards transgender people.
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“Real Time With Bill Maher” airs Friday on HBO at 10 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT.