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Journalist Cancels Appearance on Bill Maher’s ‘Real Time’ After It Books Milo Yiannopoulos

Variety logo Variety 2/16/2017 Ted Johnson
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Journalist Jeremy Scahill said that he is backing out of a planned appearance on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” after the show booked Milo Yiannopoulos as another guest.

Yiannopoulos is the Breitbart News editor who has drawn protests for his appearances on college campuses, most recently one that was canceled at Berkeley after it drew demonstrations that turned violent. His attacks on figures such as Leslie Jones led to him being banned from Twitter.

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 has appeared on “Real Time” multiple times and has served as a correspondent for the show.

Also booked on the show are Larry Wilmore and Jack Kingston.

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.”

Update: 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.”

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