Earlier this week, Real Time with Bill Maher revealed that Milo Yiannopoulos would appear as part of this Friday night’s panel. Before long, Jeremy Scahill (founding editor of The Intercept) decided to back out of the episode. Indeed, Yiannopoulos is not only known as a right-wing provocateur and proud troll, but he’s so controversial that U.C. Berkeley students violently protested and forced the cancellation of Yiannopoulos’ appearance.
Part of Scahill’s announcement lamented that Maher would provide a significant platform to someone with a “racist, anti-immigrant campaign,” which “could also be used to incite violence against immigrants.” Maher may have interpreted this as an accusation of an anti-Islamic agenda, so he spoke with Entertainment Weekly to set the record straight and defend why he’s hosting Yiannopoulos:
“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 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.”
So, the stage is set, and Maher is framing this as a possible lesson for the left or a reason to let Yiannopoulos do his thing, which would ultimately benefit the left if enough people are turned off by whatever the banned Twitter user ends up saying. One thing is certain, this appearance will be a total doozy and probably win Maher some stellar ratings.
Meanwhile, Leah Remini, former Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore, and former Congressman Jack Kingston are all still scheduled for Friday’s episode.