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Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos sat down with Bill Maher on Friday’s episode of Real Time, an appearance that has sparked waves of controversy since it was first announced by HBO.
“If I banned everyone from my show who I thought was colossally wrong, I would be talking to myself,” Maher told him, explaining his decision to have him as a guest.
“All I care about is free speech and free expression,” said Yiannopoulos. “I want people to be able to be, do and say anything. These days, that’s a conservative position.”
“I care about the environment and living also,” countered Maher.
The conversation quickly led to comparisons of liberals vs. conservatives, famous faces of the Democratic party and President Donald Trump himself.
Yiannopoulos praised Maher for being “the only good one” of the liberals, saying he thinks “your side has gone insane” and that the Democrats have become “the side of Lena Dunham.”
“The more America sees of Lena Dunham, the fewer votes the party is ever going to get,” he said, before Maher asked him not to pick on “fellow HBO stars.” The Breitbart editor also took cracks at Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman. “I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll,” he explained.
When asked by Maher about his motives for harassing Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones on Twitter (which caused Yiannopoulos to be banned from the social media platform), he replied, “I wrote a bad review of a movie. Am I not entitled to do that?”
“I simply don’t accept that the star of a Hollywood blockbuster … is sitting in a Hollywood mansion crying over mean words on the internet. Get over it,” he added. “She’s been deployed by the studio because the movie is sinking. Mean words on the internet don’t hurt anyone. What actually hurts people is murder, violence, not mean words.”
Maher interjected, “Which some people say you’ve incited,” which Yiannopoulos brushed off by saying, “Well, they’re idiots.”
Maher ended their chat by telling the Breitbart editor that it was time to “jump off the Trump train.”
“Oh, come on, he’s fabulous,” replied Yiannopoulos.
During Real Time‘s “Overtime” segment, featuring Yiannopoulos and Maher’s panel of guests, which included former Rep. Jack Kingston, Malcolm Nance and former Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore, the Breitbart editor started a contentious argument. “The only people who don’t like me are journalists,” he insisted. “Everybody else loves me.”
Wilmore called him out when Yiannopoulos said that transgender people are “disproportionately” involved in sex crimes, which Wilmore argued isn’t a correct statistic.
Yiannopoulos, calling Wilmore “very obtuse” as he fought with Nance, told Maher he was having “such a nice time, but you always invite such awful people on your show. They’re so stupid.”
Wilmore eventually had enough: “You can go f— yourself, all right?”
Wilmore also defended Jones against Yiannopoulos‘ earlier attacks: “Leslie Jones is not ‘barely literate.’ Go f— yourself again for that.”
“She can barely spell,” Yiannopoulos insisted, then even Maher had to interrupt the fight: “Shut up for one f—ing second,” the host told him.
“This is the beginning of your career. People are just starting to hate you,” said Maher, telling Yiannopoulos to stop arguing with people like Nance. “This man has done things that allow you to f—ing live.”
Wilmore, host of last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, also answered a question about whether comedians should agree to perform at this year’s event: “Abso-f—ing-lutely,” he said. “What an opportunity.”
Earlier in the week, news of Yiannopoulos‘ booking on Real Time prompted plenty of backlash, with Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, canceling his appearance on Friday’s episode.
“There is no value in ‘debating’ him,” Scahill, who has previously appeared on the show as a panelist on multiple occasions, explained in a statement posted to Twitter. “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 sent a message to Scahill in response: “If you don’t show up to debate, you lose.”
Maher, who previously lobbied to have Yiannopoulos on his show, responded to Scahill’s cancellation with the following statement: “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.”
He added, “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.”
The conservative Breitbart provocateur, who recently signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster, has been on a college speaking tour, which has been met with protests and occasional violence at multiple university campuses. On Feb. 1, Yiannopoulos‘ scheduled talk at UC Berkeley was canceled as a safety precaution after protesters started a bonfire and threw smoke bombs.
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