Real Time host Bill Maher struck back on Friday at University of California-Berekeley students protesting his appearance at the school next month, pointing out that even Reza Aslan says he is not bigoted.
“He and I disagree on stuff,” Maher argued. “But he’s always welcome on this show. That’s how it’s done, kids. Who ever told you you only had to hear what didn’t upset you?”
Maher argued that the opposition to his appearance came from people “who had never been to Berkeley.” But as the campus paper reported, it was actually students who organized a Change.org petition accusing him of “hate speech.” The speech is also being protested on Twitter through use of the #NoMaher tag.
“Right, because Islam is a race,” Maher said mockingly on Friday. “This is the level of logic we’re dealing with. By the way, even Reza Aslan, my most strident critic, has gone to pains to say he doesn’t think I’m a bigot.”
Maher also groused that his views on Islam only became an issue following his argument with actor Ben Affleck during a panel discussion on the show earlier this month.
“He’s an A-list movie star, so now our very deep media started to care about it,” Maher complained.
He also said that he planned to follow through on his appearance after the school refused to disinvite him earlier this week. He also asked “liberal, in the truest sense of the word” college students to weigh in on the issue.
“My reputation isn’t on the line,” Maher said. “Yours is.”
Watch Maher’s statement, as posted online on Friday, below.
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