by Mariah Cooper, Washington Blade
Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Delaware on Oct. 24, 2016. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Bill Maher is defending his decision to book controversial Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos as a guest on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday.
Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who founded The Intercept, was scheduled as one of the guests for the show on Friday but pulled out because of Yiannopoulos’ appearance. In a statement posted on Twitter, Scahill explained having Yiannopoulos on the show is “many bridges too far.”
“He has many venues to spew his hateful diatribes,” Scahill writes. “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.”
Scahill continued that he disagrees with Maher’s comments on Islam and Muslims that “veer into vitriol.”
Maher issued a statement explaining why he decided to welcome Yiannopoulos on his show.
“My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol,” Maher said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance will replace Scahill.