Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” took credit on Tuesday for hastening the downfall of former Breitbart editor and lifetime Twitter exile Milo Yiannopoulos with a chummy interview.
Maher told the New York Times in an interview Tuesday that he contributed to Yiannopoulos’ downfall by booking the poster boy of the “alt-right” white nationalist movement to appear on his show Friday night.
“We had Milo on, despite the fact that many people said, ‘Oh, how dare you give a platform to this man’,” Maher said. “And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”
Yiannopoulos resigned his position as an editor at Breitbart News on Tuesday after video of him appearing to condone pedophilia resurfaced over the weekend.
He called the furor over his comments “a cynical media witch hunt from people who don’t care about children.”
In videos posted on Sunday by The Reagan Battalion, Yiannopoulos criticized the “arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent” and defended “relationships between younger boys and older men” in the “homosexual world.” He also suggested that relationships between 13-year-olds and adults can happen “perfectly consensually.”
🚨 Breaking: We obtained the #CPAC2017 Milo Yiannopoulos introductory video.
This is a must watch!
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 19, 2017
The American Conservative Union on Monday disinvited Yiannopoulos from speaking at CPAC over his comments in the video, and publisher Simon and Schuster pulled its deal on Monday to publish his book “Dangerous.”
In an interview Tuesday morning on Breitbart’s radio show, editor-in-chief Alex Marlow said Yiannopoulos’ comments were “not defensible.”
Maher faced considerable backlash for the fawning Friday interview, which he began by saying he has “an open mind” regarding Yiannopoulos’ often-controversial stances, which include open misogyny and transphobia.
He later found common ground with Yiannopoulos over the fact that they have both been “disbarred at Berkeley,” where more than 4,000 students signed a 2014 petition to disinvite Maher from delivering a commencement speech.
The university canceled a scheduled appearance by Yiannopoulos earlier in February after massive protests caused thousands of dollars’ worth of property damage.
“I think a lot of people do miss your humor,” Maher told Yiannopoulos on Friday. “And I’m a guy who always defends jokes.”
At the end of the interview, Maher called those critical of Yiannopoulos “fucking schoolgirls.”
“Stop taking the bait, liberals!” he said. “The fact that they all freaked out about this little, impish, British fag? You fucking schoolgirls. You schoolgirls.”
Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter after he launched a racist targeted harassment campaign against black actress Leslie Jones.
Speaking to the New York Times, Maher said it was not his job to hold Yiannopoulos “accountable to everything he’s ever said or done.”
“I like people who push the limits,” Maher said. “Now, is this guy over the edge? Yes. I mean, he’s a little cuckoo.”