Bill Maher broke his silence about Jeremy Scahill's protest of the booking of controversial far-right journalist Milo Yiannopoulos on Maher's HBO talk show, "Real Time," and Scahill's decision to cancel his appearance on the show.
Scahill, the founder of the journalism website the Intercept and a frequent "Real Time" guest, announced his decision to cancel his appearance on Maher's show on Wednesday over the booking of Yiannopoulos on the same episode airing Friday.
In Scahill's lengthy statement, he said that he feared Yiannopoulos' appearance on the HBO show would be used by the writer and Breitbart editor to "legitimize his hateful agenda."
Scahill also said that while he respects Maher, he finds some of the host's opinions "offensive," and said Maher's comments on Islam and Muslims "veer into vitriol."
Why I will not appear this week on Real Time with Bill Maher. pic.twitter.com/SOoE3udrDr— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 15, 2017
In a statement issued late on Wednesday, according to Deadline, Maher responded to Scahill's critique of his comments surrounding Islam and Muslims, and the host argued that the journalist's decision not to engage in debate with Yiannopoulos is indicative of why "liberals will continue to lose elections."
“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 who’s[sic] 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.”
Yiannopoulos has been at the center of several uproars surrounding his politics, which have been associated with the alt-right and white nationalism, though in an interview with Business Insider, he disowned the alt-right movement, saying he doesn't want to be associated with "fringe factions" that have "genuinely racist, anti-Semitic, and prejudiced leanings."
Earlier this month, a violent demonstration on the University of California, Berkeley, campus led to the cancellation of Yiannopoulos' appearance there as part of a book tour. President Donald Trump threatened to pull federal funds from the university as a result.
Editor's note: Milo Yiannopoulos has previously written columns published by Business Insider.
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