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Bill Maher Lets Milo Yiannopoulos Attack Female Comedians Unchecked on HBO’s ‘Real Time’

Variety logo Variety 2/18/2017 Daniel Holloway
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If Milo Yiannopoulos hoped that Bill Maher and HBO would provide him a new platform to renew attacks on familiar targets, his wish was granted.

The far-right provocateur appeared on HBO’s “Real Time” Friday and took aim at the likes of Lena Dunham, Leslie Jones, and other female comics — and offered praise for his host, Maher.

“You’re the only good one,” Yiannopoulos said to Maher, talking about liberals. “Your side has gone insane.”

Yiannopoulos then took shots at “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham as he criticized the Democratic Party.

“The Democrats are the party of Lena Dunham,” Yiannopoulos said. “These people are mental, hideous people, and the more that America sees of Lena Dunham, the fewer votes that the Democratic Party is going to get.”

Maher responded, “Let’s not pick on fellow HBO stars.”

The joke was more than Maher mustered on behalf of other Yiannopoulos targets. The host said that the “one area” where he had concerns with Yiannopoulos was his targeting of individuals — specifically Yiannopoulos’ role in the online harassment of “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones

“I said that she looked a dude, which she does,” Yiannopoulos said — to which Maher responded, “Right.”

Yiannopoulos continued by repeating his assertion that Jones, who has been a writer and cast member on “Saturday Night Live” for four seasons, is “barely literate.” His claim went unchallenged by Maher.

Jones became the target of a harassment campaign on Twitter last year that saw Yiannopoulos egg on users projecting racist and misogynistic profanity at the actress. Yiannopoulos’ Twitter account was suspended as a result of his role in the campaign.

A large chunk of the interview was devoted to Yiannopoulos criticizing female comedians. He said that Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman used to be funny “before they contracted feminism.” Maher, at the mention of Silverman’s name, said only, “Another someone I’m a fan of. Let’s get off this.”

Maher did tell Yiannopoulos that he was “very wrong about certain things,” such as his assertions the Black Lives Matter is a hate group and that white privilege doesn’t exist.

“We can disagree on those things, and that’s wonderful,” Yiannopoulos said. Maher never returned to either subject. Instead Yiannopoulos pivoted to Jeremy Scahill, the journalist and frequent “Real Time” guest who canceled his appearance on the show after Maher booked Yiannopoulos. Maher grew visibly excited as he addressed the criticism that he received since announcing that Yiannopoulos would appear on the show.

“Stop taking the bait, liberals,” he said. “The fact that they all freaked out about an impish, British f-g. You schoolgirls.”

Yiannopoulos, a paid provocateur and editor for Breitbart News, has been criticized for promoting a racist ideology in his writing and media appearances. Scahill, in his statement this week announcing that he would not appear on “Real Time,” wrote, “Milo Yiannopoulos is many bridges too far. He has ample venues to spew his hateful diatribes. 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.”

As the interview ended Friday night, Maher thanked Yiannopoulos for coming on and said, “We’ll do it again.”

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