After Bill Maher announced that he had invited Milo Yiannopoulos to be a panelist on his show, Jeremy Scahill, another guest who was scheduled to be on the show, immediately backed out.
Scahill posted this explanation of his decision on Twitter:
Why I will not appear this week on Real Time with Bill Maher. pic.twitter.com/SOoE3udrDr
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 15, 2017
As Scahill alludes, Maher’s opinions on Islamic terrorism run counter to the liberal orthodoxy he generally espouses.
Like Jon Stewart, Maher has never shied away from engaging people who have political viewpoints different from his. He was the one who helped make Ann Coulter a regular presence on television when he had her on as a frequent guest on his first hit HBO show, “Politically Incorrect.”
It is indicative of just how strongly people react to Yiannopoulos that his presence is where Scahill draws the line with Maher.
While Scahill asserts that Milo has “ample venues” available to him to get his message out, and may have been true at one point, it is less so now. In fact, universities began canceling scheduled appearances by Yiannopoulos last year.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Maher issued a response to the cancellation, in which he pointed to Scahill being the problem, not Yiannopoulos:
My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol,” Maher replied in a statement obtained by EW. “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. 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.
This isn’t the first time Maher has cautioned fellow liberals about imperiling their future electoral chances. Last year he offered what turned out to be a prescient warning about their inability to call “Islamic terrorism” what it is.