September 9th, 2018 – Bill Maher likes to step in it, and Friday night his shoes got awfully dirty. The Real Time host has received steady pushback over the weekend after making a joke about Indians, and sidelining New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg during a segment about Me Too and Al Franken.
After showing a clip of Donald Trump attempting to correctly pronounce the word “anonymous,” Maher introduced his first guest. Filmmaker Jack Bryan sat down for an interview to discuss his documentary Active Measures, which details Vladimir Putin’s 30-year history of political warfare and how he set his sights on Trump.
Bryan details the relationship that formed between Russian mobsters and Trump through real estate ventures, and as he arrived at Trump’s bankruptcies Maher saw an opening for a joke.
“Between the early 90s and 2004, Trump goes through a series of bankruptcies, and he starts losing the ability to get seed capital,” Bryan explains before Maher interjects with “The casinos…the only man to lose money in the casino business. People give you money for nothing. The Indians make this work.”
When the joke was met with little laughter, Maher continued:
“Not exactly in their heritage – running casinos – they can do it.”
Twitter responded with rebukes of using Indians as a punchline.
fuck Bill Maher and his hack racist “Indians make this work” joke.
Maher didn’t limit himself to Indians, though, as he began digging into how best to beat Trump in the 2020 election. His best guess is Al Franken, and his explanation for why led him, inevitably, to the Me Too movement.
Franken resigned from the Senate in January after eight women accused the former senator of varying degrees of sexual harassment. He consistently denied most of the accusations, but left saying that he wanted to be “respectful of that broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard, and their experiences taken seriously.”
Maher doesn’t exactly agree. He took the position that, as a country, we tend to overreact to things, and did so with the accusations leveled against Franken. During his “New Rules” segment, Maher implored Franken to step back into the political ring to be Trump’s kryptonite. Being made fun of is what truly gets to Trump, according to the host, and Franken can “shred Trump like a stand up takes down a heckler.”
He continued saying:
“Women should be heard and we should always keep in mind the vast majority of women reporting serious abuse are truthful. But women also didn’t completely lose the ability to lie in in 2017.”
The audience didn’t seem to agree with that last line, and that’s when Goldberg stepped in.
“I feel like, I know it’s not my place, I have to say for the record there was a lot of ass grabbing, too.”
“I’m gonna get to that, and it quite isn’t your place so sorry,” Maher replied dismissively. “I mean, you have the whole show, and I have this one little time at the end.”
Putting aside the irony of a man who hosts a late-night show telling a woman that he only has “this one little time at the end” to speak, people had plenty to say about Maher dismissing Goldberg’s take. New and seasoned critics of Maher jumped online to put him in his place, while others defended the scolding.
Michelle Goldberg having to sit through Bill Maher’s “bring back Franken” rant is a good reminder that smart people shouldn’t go on Bill Maher’s show
This was painful to watch. It doesn’t really matter what his format is; he paused, she couldn’t stand for him to deliberately omit certain facts, and he scolded her as if she were a child. It was awful.
Don’t pretend to make a big deal about the Michelle Goldberg moment on tonight’s Bill Maher. It was his closing editorial segment, carefully timed during a live show. She shouldn’t have interrupted / he could have stopped her with a tad more finesse. Not a #MeToo catastrophe.
Maher closed the segment by saying “We can have MeToo and Al Franken – they are not mutually exclusive. It is time to get Al Franken off the bench to do what he does better than any other Democrat – taking down right-wing blowhards. I want to see Al Franken debate Donald Trump. And, by the way, so do you.”
What did you think of the most recent Real Time With Bill Maher? Did he cross a line with the Indians joke and dismissing Michelle Goldberg?