On Friday night, Bill Maher took up the subject of free speech in the wake of Alex Jones being thrown off of social media platforms on his HBO show.
“If you’re a liberal you’re supposed to be for free speech,” he said. “That’s free speech for things you hate—that’s what free speech means. We’re losing the thread of the concepts that are important to this country. Either you care about the real American sh*t or you don’t. And if you do it goes for every side. I don’t like Alex Jones, but Alex Jones gets to speak. Everybody gets to speak.”
Maher was quickly confronted by conservative political commentator Charlie Sykes, who defended the companies that have tossed Jones.
“Sure, but he doesn’t necessarily get to speak of Facebook or Twitter,” Sykes said. “If he goes out and engaged in vile slander and fabrication about the children of Sandy Hook and he harassed the parents of children who were murdered at Sandy Hook, you know what: Facebook, Twitter, none of them have an obligation to provide him a platform. They’re private companies.”
Maher conceded this point: private enterprise doesn’t have an obligation to give Jones a platform.
“If you make a T-shirt that says ‘Your mother sucks c*cks in hell, they don’t have to sell it at Baby Gap,” Maher said.
The panel then discussed Twitter’s one-week suspension of Alex Jones and how Jones is unlikely to now change.
“The timeout? The Twitter thing is just ridiculous,” Sykes said. “W’re going to have Alex Jones off Twitter for a week so he thinks about what he’s done. I mean, what, he’s some sort of 9-year-old? He’s going to say ‘Oh, I’m really sorry about that, the kids really are dead.'”