Maher defends booking Yiannopoulos after journalist pulls out of show

Maher defends booking Yiannopoulos after journalist pulls out of show
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HBO's Bill Maher is defending his decision to invite Milo Yiannopoulos on his show after a journalist canceled his appearance over the Breitbart editor and controversial alt-right leader's presence.

The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill announced he would not appear as planned on “Real Time with Bill Maher” shortly after Yiannopoulos was booked.

“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," Maher responded in a statement.

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"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.”

Maher also slammed Scahill's criticism of his views on Islam, saying: "My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol."

Scahill, who said the people at the show “have become like family to me,” said he respected Maher despite having major disagreements with him.

"I passionately disagree with — and find offensive — some of Bill’s views, particularly when his comments on Islam and Muslims veer into vitriol. At the same time, I have deep respect for Bill and his voice on many other issues.”

But he said Yiannopoulos’s appearance was "many bridges too far."

"He has ample 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 slammed Scahill as well for pulling out of the show.

"Public shaming and grandstanding don't work any more. ... Thanks for proving my point for me, Jeremy Scahill!" he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "You can look forward to pulling out of a lot more shows in the next few decades."

Yiannopoulos will be Maher's opening interview on Friday’s show. Other guests include former Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore, former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and actress Leah Remini.

Joe Concha contributed.