*Comedian and producer Larry Wilmore will appear on Friday’s broadcast of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” journalist Jeremy Scahill pulled out of his scheduled appearance on the panel after learning that controversial figure Milo Yiannopoulos was booked for the same episode.
Yiannopoulos is the Breitbart News editor whose racist, vile attacks on Leslie Jones led to him being banned from Twitter. Most recently, he has drawn protests for his appearances on college campuses, including the one that was canceled at Berkeley after demonstrations there turned violent.
Scahill, in a statement he posted on Twitter, wrote that booking Yiannopoulos was “many bridges too far.”
“He has many venues to spew his hateful diatribes,” Scahill wrote. “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.”
He added that “Real Time” “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.”
Scahill also wrote, “I passionately disagree with — and find offensive — some of Bill’s views.” He cited instances when Maher’s statements on Islam and Muslims “veer into vitriol.”
Bill Maher responded on Thursday evening.
“My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol. Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of Mr. Scahill whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of church 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.”