Bill Maher didn’t let his friend Al Franken off the hook for the allegations of sexual misconduct against him, but he did do his best to make sure it was known that he’s not the same as Roy Moore or Donald Trump. He had some support in the form of Chelsea Handler and his panel, including Rebecca Traister, Carl Bernstein, and Max Brooks, all doing their best to tightrope through condemning Franken while making sure it’s clear that he’s no predator.
Maher addressed Franken himself during his monologue, saying that Franken did “a bad thing” in reference to the accusations made by Leann Tweeden and the situation itself never should’ve happened:
“Al’s a friend, but Al- I gotta to tell you…If you write a comedy sketch where you, Al Franken, kiss a model and her next line of dialogue isn’t ‘Get off of me, creepy!’ it’s not comedy; it’s science fiction.”
Right after, Maher made it clear that Franken is not in the same league as Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, and Donald Trump when it comes to sexual assault and misconduct.
Handler agreed with Maher when she stopped by as his mid-show guest for the evening, saying that anybody that knows Franken is aware that he is not a predator. The panel adds that the focus on the punishment and the fight that follows seems to be the easiest discussion for people to have, where the culture itself and how it transcends everything is the real conversation is what should happen. They discuss this being a “tipping point” right now and having to analyze things “in context” a lot more as a society, with plenty of blame tossed on new media and the internet for changing how we react to these situations. At the same time, people will argue that it is 2017. These men and women who harass and abuse should know better by this point, but they don’t.
A part of the Handler interview that wasn’t uploaded to YouTube continued the discussion and brought up Bill Clinton’s past and how it should be addressed in the current climate. While most agreed that focusing on Trump, Moore, Franken, and others in power now is likely more important, the actions of Clinton in the past need to be addressed. Handler also addresses an interaction she had with Juanita Broaddrick, apologizing to her and saying, “I believe you.”
(Via Real Time)