In a television event that was described by some people (okay, me) as "less of a draw than watching my own televised execution," human smirk Bill Maher hosted Digimon enthusiast and trans/Muslim basher Milo Yiannopoulos on Real Time last night. Maher, who decided to invite Yiannopoulos on the show after protests of Yiannopoulos's attempted Berkley speech offended Maher's free speech principles, proved how committed he was to free speech by letting Yiannopoulos ramble on basically unchallenged.
More cringeworthy than outrageous, if you can watch the whole video of a man who admits he knows nothing about his guest try to interrogate him without wanting to saw your own head off with a bread knife then, you should bring yourself to the doctor for an EEG. A mostly silent audience who seemed more confused than upset about Yiannopoulos's declaration that gays were too sex and drug-crazed to be good employees were deemed "easily triggered." Maher blushed and thanked the man who said all of Islam is incompatible with American life because Yiannopoulos told him that he was "sound" and "very good" on Islam, and the segment seemed to keep turning into a mutual JO session where both men congratulated each other on using humor to tell truth. You know, humor like "using the bodies of murder victims as a prop—not even to push an agenda, but to feed his own ego."
If there was any satisfaction to be had from the entire shitshow, it was maybe when Larry Wilmore told Yiannopolous to go fuck himself, on a panel segment where the best thing the allegedly cutting and brilliant Yiannopoulos could say about Wilmore and another guest was that they were stupid.
Even that segment though, has to be balanced with the fact that when Wilmore suggested that every trans person wasn't a rapist-in-waiting, Yiannopoulos was given a free platform to make the unchallenged statement that trans people were "vastly disproportionately involved in sex crimes." Which, as The Daily Beast points out, is knowingly hateful bullshit:
Here, Yiannapoulos is correct: transgender people are “disproportionately involved” in sex crimes—as the victims. According to the Office of Justice Programs, “One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives. Some reports estimate that transgender survivors may experience rates of sexual assault up to 66 percent, often coupled with physical assaults or abuse. This indicates that the majority of transgender individuals are living with the aftermath of trauma and the fear of possible repeat victimization.”
So, next time you see one of those bus shelter ads with Maher's smug, punchable face overlaid with the words "Lets Make America Sane Again" remember that "sanity" is using HBO's enormous platform to promote unfounded fear and bigotry against some of American's most vulnerable citizens.