Cheers to Jeremy Scahill for Refusing to Appear with Milo Yiannopoulos on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher
February 20, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On February 1, Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart News editor and fascist provocateur, was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley, but thousands of students, professors, and others protested and shut this motherfucker down.
After that, in an unconscionable move, Bill Maher scheduled Yiannopoulos to appear on his HBO show Real Time, on February 17—giving this fascist a forum to spew his poison and lending him credibility.
Jeremy Scahill, journalist and co-founder of TheIntercept.com, who has been a frequent guest on Real Time, was also scheduled to appear on the February 17 show. But when Scahill learned that Yiannopoulos was also going to be a guest on the show, he withdrew and issued a public statement, “Why I will not appear this week on Real Time with Bill Maher.” It reads in part:
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.
What Jeremy Scahill predicted would happen on Real Time is exactly what did happen. Not only did Maher give this fascist motherfucker an open mic to spew his poison—but Maher was complicit in this! Far from even challenging Yiannopoulos in any way, Maher sunk to new depths—acting all chummy, sucking up to Yiannopoulos, joking around with him, refusing to challenge any of his shit. When Yiannopoulos said he thought “girls should be protected from men who are confused about their sexual identities in their bathrooms” Maher said, “That’s not unreasonable.” Maher admonished “liberals” to “stop taking the bait” [that is, leave this fascist alone].
Maher’s despicable behavior created lots of controversy and the next day there was much commentary in the media—including people exposing Maher. The New York Times called it a “largely docile, chummy affair” where there “was little conflict or cross-examination, as both men chided the political left for avoiding or drowning out Mr. Yiannopoulos’s views rather than engaging with them.” The Los Angeles Times reported that Maher talked to Yiannopoulos, “agreeing with him nearly as much as disagreeing with him and generally affecting a convivial tone.” There were headlines such as these: CNN—“Bill Maher’s shameful mainstreaming of Yiannopoulos’ hate”; New York Times—“Bill Maher and Milo Yiannopoulos Find Common Ground”; Washington Post—“Milo Yiannopoulos found a bromance with Bill Maher....”
So cheers to Jeremy Scahill for standing up to principle and doing the right thing! And fuck you to Bill Maher.
Read Jeremy Scahill’s full statement here.
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