On Friday’s episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher used the “New Rules” segment of his show to bring up a thing he’s complained about before: So-called “Cancel Culture.”
Though the bit was a familiar litany of concerns people familiar with the whole thing will recognize, Maher did at least begin by acknowledging that conservatives who claim appropriate reactions to horrible behavior are “cancel culture” are liars. And he ended it with a pretty good punchline: “When what you’re doing sounds like an Onion headline, stop.”
The bit began with Maher calling for liberals to come up with a new “stand your ground law for cancel culture. So that when the woke mob comes after you for some ridiculous offense, you’ll stand your ground and stop apologizing, because I can’t keep up anymore with who’s on the s— list.”
Before proceeding, Maher took a second to clarify what he means. “Lately, Republicans have been trying to appropriate the term cancel culture to describe what happens to them when they get a just comeuppance for actual crimes,” he said, accurately by the way. “And this muddying the waters is unfortunate because cancel culture is real. It’s insane. And it’s growing exponentially. And it’s coming to a neighborhood near you.”
His first example of the problem was Emmanuel Cafferty, a San Diego power and electric employee who was in fact unjustly fired after being accused, wrongly as it turned out, of being a white supremacist after someone mistook the way he held his arm out of his truck for a white power sign.
“But he’s not a white supremacist. He’s Latino. And he wasn’t making a hand gesture. He’s probably just flicking a booger,” Maher said. “Is this really who we want to become? A society of phony clenched asshole avatars, walking on eggshells always looking over your shoulder about getting ratted out for something that actually has nothing to do with your character or morals. Think about everything you’ve ever texted, emailed, searched for, tweeted, blogged or said in passing, or now even just witnessed. Someone had a confederate flag in their dorm room in 1990 –and you didn’t do anything.”
“Andy Warhol was wrong… in the future. Everyone will not experience 15 minutes of fame, but 15 minutes of shame,” Maher said.
For his next example, Maher brought up Britney Spears and her ex boyfriend Justin Timberlake.
“Now, you may be asking, why are we even talking about this net? Well, the New York Times did a documentary about Britney Spears … Really, the New York Times. What do you see the searing expose they have coming up on pebbles. Anyway, in it we find out that teenage Justin hadn’t become a perfect person yet. And when asked if he had sex with the girl who was big hit was called I’m a ‘Slave for you,’ he said yes. Although, I truly believe any guy willing to wear matching outfits can’t be all there,” Maher said.
Now Maher got some of this wrong. What Timberlake was criticized for wasn’t just saying that he and Spears had sex. It was for his treatment of Britney after they broke up, which not only included that incident but also his releasing a hit single that implied she cheated on him, helping to foster cruel, tabloid coverage of her even from supposedly legitimate media.
Maher’s next example of former “The Mandalorian” actress Gina Carano, who was fired from the show at some point in the last few months, but was only confirmed to no longer be with the show in January.
“Gina Carano is a person I’d never heard of and resent that I have now,” Maher said. “She’s some conservative wrestling chick who kicks ass on a show I wouldn’t watch if I was in prison. And she made some Nazi analogy… Who doesn’t these days? You’re like the Nazis is the new I don’t like you. It’s always okay when Trump’s the Nazi… that disqualifies her for marching around the planet Who Give a S— in a helmet? By the way, you can’t work in Hollywood if you don’t believe what we believe. Yeah, in the 50s. That’s exactly what the left complained they were being told”
Now, Disney has not said why it parted ways with Carano, but it’s widely understood that it was related to a series of social media posts in which she spread disinformation about COVID-19, lies about the 2020 election, transphobia, and even anti-Semitic memes. What Maher refers to above however is a social media post in which she absurdly compared being a political conservative to being Jewish in Nazi Germany. It has been widely assumed that statement got her fired, but the evidence suggests she had been fired long before that point.
But, just a reminder, that comparison is incredibly stupid, but isn’t actually anti-Semitic. What is, however, extremely anti-Semitic is a cartoon she tweeted in December filled with racist caricatures, which as of this writing she has still not taken down, nor has she apologized.
Anyway, next, Maher brought up “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, who came under fire and has taken a temporary break from the show after he defended Rachael Kirkconnell, a frontrunner the current season, after photo was resurfaced in which she appears to be attending a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018, along with posts where she shared QAnon conspiracy theories and “liked” Confederate flag-related TikToks.
Oh, good. Because all my life, I’ve looked up to the host of the f— a stranger show,” Maher said. “And if I thought I couldn’t count on The Bachelor for moral guidance, I don’t know if I could go on. And of course he’s not stepping away, because he’s the host of the televised snake pit where 32 female contestants are trapped in the sorority house from Hell. It’s because he wouldn’t throw one of them under the bus.”
“Mature people understand humans are continually evolving, as opposed to WokeVille, where they’re always shocked we didn’t emerge enlightened from the primordial ooze,” Maher continued. “What’s Chris Harrison supposed to do? Build a time machine go back to 2018 and knock the Mint Juleps out of their hands? Maybe while he’s time traveling, he can have a word with that asshole Abraham Lincoln, who’s now cancelled in San Francisco. And they’re thinking about it in Illinois. Yes, the Land of Lincoln might cancel Lincoln.”
“Memo to social justice warriors, when what you’re doing sounds like an Onion headline, stop,” Maher concluded.