Bill Maher is making no apologies for booking Milo Yiannopoulos on HBO’s “Real Time” this Friday, saying Jeremy Scahill’s refusal to appear on the show out of protest of the conservative firebrand is one of the reasons why Democrats lost the election to President Trump.
Mr. Scahill, founding editor of The Intercept, posted a lengthy statement on Twitter Wednesday evening announcing that he was dropping out of his scheduled appearance on Friday’s show because he disagrees with giving Mr. Yiannopoulos a platform to “spew his hateful diatribes.”
“There is no value in ‘debating’ him,” Mr. Scahill wrote. “Appearing on Real Time will provide Yiannopoulos with a large, important platform to openly advocate his racist, anti-immigrant campaign. … 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.”
“Real Time, of course, has the right to book whomever it wants on its show, including Yiannopoulos,” he wrote. “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.”
Why I will not appear this week on Real Time with Bill Maher. pic.twitter.com/SOoE3udrDr— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 15, 2017
Mr. Scahill’s statement came the same day HBO announced that Mr. Yiannopoulos would be “Real Time’s” top-of-show guest Friday, just more than two weeks after the controversial Breitbart News editor was blocked by violent protests from speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, campus earlier this month.
Mr. Maher, who used to host a show called “Politically Incorrect,” is a longtime proponent of free speech and decided to have Mr. Yiannopoulos on his show in order debate his views openly.
“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,” Mr. Maher said in a statement, Entertainment Weekly reported. “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.”
Mr. Scahill was supposed to join a roundtable discussion with former Republican Rep. Jack Kingston and comedian Larry Wilmore on the show. MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance will serve as his replacement, EW reported.
Mr. Yiannopoulos appeared to take Mr. Scahill’s snub in stride. In an email Wednesday to The Associated Press, he wrote, “public shaming and grandstanding don’t work any more. … Thanks for proving my point for me, Jeremy Scahill! You can look forward to pulling out of a lot more shows in the next few decades.”
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