On Friday’s “Real Time,” Bill Maher used the “New Rules’ segment to call out a slew of American entertainment, athletic and political figures for their deference to China, a problem he identified as basically an abandonment of even the pretense of support for human rights and democracy.
Maher also complained about the whataboustism he says comes from defenders of China, complaining that for all its flaws, America doesn’t currently have hundreds of thousands of members of a racial minority in concentration camps or a functioning secret police.
What inspired the rant was Eileen Gu, and American born, American citizen skier who competed as part of China’s national team during the 2022 Olympics. “Cool, huh,” he asked sarcastically. “Is that cool? Choose to represent a totalitarian state over America?”
Maher noted that Olympic games have always been “proxy wars” over competing political systems, and Gu, he says, is a symbol “of China’s triumph over the west… which wouldn’t bother me so much if I thought China had triumphed over us in the ways that really matter.”
“Now, we do have human rights issues right here at home, we do,” Maher continued. “But we’re still at least, for another 3 years, a democracy based on ‘freedom.’ And they are an authoritarian surveillance state based on ‘how’d you like to disappear for a few months.”
Maher then ran down several issues related to China’s government, like the mass incarceration and forced “reeducation” of Uighurs that has been condemned globally. He mentioned also tennis star Peng Shuai who mysteriously disappeared after accusing a powerful politician of sexual assault, only to emerge months later to recant her accusation.”
Maher also noted how China’s government broke its promise to allow Hong Kong to retain its democratic system of government and is now basically cracking down on any dissent. He also noted the humiliating spectacle back in 2019, when the Houston Rockets general manager tweeted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, and then after Chinese authorities blackballed the NBA, the entire league basically cringed and offered obsequious apologies.
Maher chocked that up to money from NBA deals in China overriding any kind of moral position.
Maher also brought up how in 2021, John Cena accidentally called Taiwan a “country” during an interview, then recorded an absolutely cringing apology in Chinese for doing so. “And I thought steroids shrunk your balls,” Maher quipped after playing a clip of Cena’s apology.
“Wowee, when a country can make your big muscly macho man action stars grovel in their language, you know you’re somebody’s bitch,” Maher continued.
Maher then noted a few other things along those lines and then returned to Gu. “Can you really blame 18-year-old Eileen Gu, who’s already made over 31 million dollars as the face of 23 brand products in China, for following in the footsteps of other American celebrities?” he said.
Maher dismissed what he said are defenders of China who claim it is racist to criticize China, and asked how people would react if European countries were acting the way China is on several of the issues discussed above. He also noted examples of Chinese censorship specifically targeting gay and trans people and asked “how would that go over here?”
Maher ended the bit by saying “tell me where we got this rule that says you can’t criticize China. because I suspect we got it from China. ‘Cause after all, it’s where we get everything else.”
Watch the clip above.