“Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for,” the Change.org petition reads.
The comedian’s “public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities,” the petition continues.
“Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities”
Marium Navid, an Associated Students of University of California Senator, told The Daily Californian that “[i]t’s not an issue of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of campus climate. The First Amendment gives him the right to speak his mind, but it doesn’t give him the right to speak at such an elevated platform as the commencement. That’s a privilege his racist and bigoted remarks don’t give him.”
As of today, the petition has been signed by 1,500 people, but it is unknown how many of them are affiliated with the university itself.
Maher has come under fire in recent weeks, most notably for his fiery spat with Ben Affleck on a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher.
He claimed that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia,” and that Muslims “will f*cking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”