Yet another reason I despise Bill Maher (and Milo Yiannopoulos)

I watched the segment of Real Time with Bill Maher featuring Milo Yiannopoulos (I usually avoid the show; I am confirmed once again in my revulsion). I think the New York Times accurately summed it up:

Despite a brief flare-up of controversy that preceded it, a conversation between Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary right-wing author and lecturer, and Bill Maher, the comedian and host of HBO’s “Real Time,” on that program Friday night was a largely docile, chummy affair. 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.

Maher revealed his own bigotry when Yiannopoulos vaulted on to his high horse to attack transgender men and women and said that he makes no apologies for protecting women and children from men who are confused about their sexual identity in their bathrooms. I immediately call bullshit. Yiannopoulos is not on a crusade to defend women and children, he’s just a Nazi-wannabe troll. Maher apparently has a broken bullshit detector, though, because he just mutters,

That’s not unreasonable.

And then he turns to another guest, Jack Kingston, and says,

Jack, where do you stand on weirdos peeing?

Fuck you too, Bill Maher. Let’s promote the stereotype that the reason transgender people go into the bathroom is to rape people, rather than to urinate, on top of giving a hateful narcissist another platform on which to giggle out lies. I must point out that the current crisis in American politics is in part due to journalists giving air time to bigots to air their sensationalist views, and then failing to call them on it. There’s Bill Maher, doing the same thing with another hate-monger. You can’t simultaneously call giving shrieking racists, sexists, and transphobes a platform a free speech issue, and then fail to be skeptical and critical of their views.

There were two heroes on this show, though: Jeremy Scahill for refusing to show up and legitimize Yiannopoulos, and Larry Wilmore for refusing to accept Yiannopoulos’s shit. He was having none of it.

I just think it’s sad because it’s the same argument used against gay people, treating them like aliens who just wanted to fuck everything that moved and that’s why we should avoid them at all costs. There’s a difference without a distinction … It’s like when people tried to compare gays and blacks. They’re not the same thing. We share an invisibility. People didn’t see us in society and gay people hid out from society. But there were a lot of the same issues that you have to deal with when you’re marginalized.

Yiannopoulos’s response was to call being transgender a psychiatric disorder (an extraordinarily ironic argument, coming from a loudly gay man — he is aware that the same dismissal by definition has been and is being applied to gay people, right?), and assert that they (transgender people) are disproportionately involved in those sorts of sex crimes. As victims, maybe.

I’ll let Yiannopoulos have the last quote.

No, but you always invite such awful people on your show. You need to start inviting higher IQ guests.

For once, he’s right. Never invite Yiannopoulos again, for starters. Then get rid of Bill Maher. And finally, turn over the program to Larry Wilmore, who was brilliant.


  1. says

    Well, it appears that one sure way to get Maher’s aggressive side is to criticize him. So as long as Milo steered away from calling him an anti vaxxer gooner, he was probably going to play the political correctness and free speech angle. Yawn.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    Maher apparently has a broken bullshit detector

    He’s never been able to smell his own. Maher has always been a nauseating combination of ignorant, obnoxious and condescending.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    <blockqoute…an extraordinarily ironic argument, coming from a loudly gay man…

    Milo is noted as being notoriously anti-gay and a Catholic-apologist despite his alleged homosexuality. Assuming he really is gay and this isn’t a part of his professional asshole act, is there a LGBTQ equivalent to “Uncle Tom” in the slang lexicon? He’s earned it.

  4. cartomancer says

    Ugh, horrible, horrible people.

    Bit rich from Milo talking about getting more intelligent guests when he dropped out of university twice because it was too hard for him. Well, that and the sheer thick-headed idiocy of his positions. Or, rather, the positions he claims to adopt to get himself attention.

    You know, as someone who has been threatened and intimidated for being gay myself, I wouldn’t normally wish a savage gay-bashing from right-wing thugs on anyone. I still don’t wish it on Yiannopoulos, but I would find it very hard indeed to care if it did happen.

  5. says

    I strongly endorse that idea of replacing Maher with Wilmore.

    Yeah, Maher was even more of a shit than my very low expectations. It’s been too many years since I paid attention to Maher, perhaps.

  6. congenital cynic says

    Milo seems to be an attention whore like Coulter. Just poking at people to get a rise out of them, and making that into some kind of popularity – and then that brings in money. Whether they actually believe any of what they say is in question.

    Larry Wilmore is great.

  7. Doc Bill says

    OK, I had a peek at that train wreck of a panel. Once again an ideological dolt, Milo, was allowed to lie his head off without pushback.

  8. emergence says

    What’s irritating is that this is a lose-lose situation. I do agree that legitimizing Yiannopoulos is destructive and gives him a platform to attack people, but he’s still going to milk any perceived attempt to infringe on his freezepeach for attention too. It’s hard to care about that when you see what he did to that trans student though.

  9. rietpluim says

    Giliell Amen! When I think of my children’s future, trans people are no concern at all. Assholes like Maher and Yiannopoulos are.

  10. specialffrog says

    @emergence: He might have been able to milk being booked and then having his appearance cancelled. If he just wasn’t booked in the first place not so much.

  11. unclefrogy says

    Maher has always been a nauseating combination of ignorant, obnoxious and condescending.

    all with an air of smug superiority that really pushes my buttons. he is always speaking at you not to you.
    uncle frogy

  12. malachiconstant says


    The only reason to bring Milo on the show is to expose his idiotic public statements and to make fun of him. I haven’t payed attention to Maher in years, but if he was an actually good host he would have asked him to explain his position on X (where X=gay rights, transgender rights, gun laws, or whatever), then asked him to explain the discrepancy between his position and the facts.

    It would be luring him into the show, then attacking him. That would a) make him reluctant to go on any big, popular shows, and b) publicly make fun of his stupid pronouncements.

    Luring a person on the show just to attack them is generally not kosher, but if his show was decent, Milo would know in advance what he was getting in to.

  13. René says

    I’m truly sorry for not reading all comments. So I might be completely off-topic.

    I knew Maher first through ‘Religulous’. As much as I despise religion in general, and the Catholic crimininal association in particular, Maher had me puke from the start. What a shat-out prophet.

  14. Saad says


    I guess you’re deciding to go low, PZ. Really disappointed.

    Can you wear something distinctive though so I can tell you apart from Himmler?

  15. antigone10 says

    It should be pretty easy, Saad. PZ doesn’the advocate for anti-semitism. But if you can’take tell the difference between the two, perhaps you shouldn’the post until you have worked on your comprehension skills.

  16. ridleykemp says

    Maybe it was intended ironically, but I wish Wilmore had left out the comment about “IQ.” Milo’s ilk misuse IQ constantly, pointing to it as proof that some races are inferior. I get that it’s shorthand for “smart,” but I cringed a little when Wilmore used it.

  17. secondtofirstworld says

    @Akira MacKenzie #6:

    If you heard about Violette Morris, then you are aware of the scope of an LGBT-community member’s betrayal toward their own country, and community. Having an antisocial personality obviously doesn’t have boundaries on sexual orientation, so what he does isn’t an act of self-hate. What he does is constantly reframing the identity of a minority member to the point of acceptance by the community, that only an uberauthoritarian or totalitarian power can understand them. Animals can’t sleep in beds with sheets on is what’s going on here, he’s not the first, and won’t be the last.

    In a much larger picture, he is part of the peddled lie, that the alt-right is anti-establishment, with conveniently omitting the fact, that they despise the establishment only to become an irreplaceable establishment themselves. To put it in other words, not an Uncle Tom. Couldn’t be either, as most people use the expression wrong, based on how racists in later retelling have transformed the character from a martyr to a servant fool, so using the expression is actually promoting racism, just saying. The term quisling would be a better fit, but that would mean active betrayal, instead of wanting turn to sexual orientation community against the transgender members.

  18. ck, the Irate Lump says


    My reading of PZ’s post is that it was Milo, not Larry Wilmore, who mentioned IQ.

    That quote was definitely from Milo. I believe Wilmore’s reply was “You can go fuck yourself”.

  19. Joey Maloney says

    “Well, Bill, if you’re the kind of asshole bigot who thinks it’s funny to call transgendered people ‘weirdos’, I guess I stand right on your fucking throat.”

  20. says

    What’s really revolting about Yiannopoulos’ “disproportionately involved in sex crimes” line is that there is one way in which he is right. Transgender people are more likely to be the VICTIMS of sex crimes than the general population. That means they’re “involved” in the crime the way a murder victim is “involved” in a murder.

    Either he’s pulling it out of his ass, or he’s taking real numbers about the problems faced by the transgender community, and using them to attack that community. That’s a particularly fucking nasty bit of doublespeak.

  21. Ichthyic says

    he’s still going to milk any perceived attempt to infringe on his freezepeach for attention too.

    let him. if that is ALL he is able to do, his teeth would be gone.

    done deal.

  22. ridleykemp says

    Well I am Mr. Derp tonight. Thank you @davidgeelan and @ck, the Irate Lump for correcting me. I completely misread that. I blame…um…me.

  23. secondtofirstworld says

    @Abe Drayton #29:

    He’s by far not alone. Last year, the German federal police, the Bundeskriminalamt, released a statistical report on crime involving refugees, and it also contains a section of the number of crimes committed by refugees. Naturally, it goes into detail on the types of the crime, but several antisocial individual focus on the 1 million number. Instead of talking about the actuality, that more than 80% of it is riding public transportation without a valid ticket, and minor shoplifting, they scream from the top of their lungs, that it will destroy the country. Even the violent crimes committed by refugees is victimizing fellow refugees, but wouldn’t make good press (to them). Similarly, in Sweden, after the reporting on sexual crime could not be revoked (as to avoid coercion by the perpetrator or their associates), and the definition was widened, the far right started to misinterpret it as a huge uptake in crime committed by immigrants.

    So, by merely talking about the involvement of transgender people in a crime, the goal is obviously to strike fear. The very devious part comes from playing on human nature. He wants to make the case, that liberal support for the LGBT-community is purely political and dishonest, as it ignores the occurrence of racism and sexism within the community, and it being a real thing isn’t even a lie, the racism and sexism part, potentially a part of political ignorance too. The only real way to combat it goes beyond the LGBT-community, as it requires a cultural shift on the right to embrace minorities as equal voters to their traditional voter base. It’s not even fiction, a single attack in Marseilles victimizing 5 gay men by Muslim bigots was enough to turn every 4th French gay man into a voter for Marine Le Pen, where the need to protect national identity supersedes identity based on sexual orientation. It’s still a lie, but an effective one.

    Since an agent provocateur plays on the relativity of morality, the only way is to take the high road, and not stopping in highlighting, that he’s a token minority, who speaks for himself, and can’t, but also won’t offer actual freedom to LGBT-people.

  24. numerobis says

    The cool thing is that this interview has convinced some friends I know who previously liked Maher that actually he’s an asshole.

  25. Greta Samsa says

    This gives excellent context to his complaints about political correctness. That did seem a bit off.

  26. DLC says

    Well, if I want serious discussion of current events and modern politics, I don’t turn to Bill Maher. His material can be funny, if you’re into that kind of fun. At least he’s not a religious weirdo. and Milo vacuum-head can go jump down a fucking hole, and pull the hole in after him.

  27. markwheeler1958 says

    PZ, you clearly don’t watch Maher’s program much. If you did, you would know that Maher has been staunchly positive on transgender issues. With that background in mind, it’s very clear that he was merely agreeing with Milo that his stated goal of wanting to protect women and girls is reasonable, whether or not one believes that Milo actually cares about them. For Maher to call Milo a liar at that point would have required evidence that Maher didn’t have. As a skeptic, you should know this. As for Maher’s comment to Kingston, you must have been so shocked and horrified that you missed what was said afterward:

    Maher: Jack, where do you stand on weirdos peeing?

    Milo: Did you just call transgender people weirdos?

    Maher: Just to fuck with him (referring to Kingston.)

    It’s called a sense of humor, PZ. Maybe you should cultivate one.