After announcing late Wednesday afternoon that “Real Time” will start producing new episodes without writers amid the ongoing strike, Bill Maher received harsh criticism not only from members of the the Writers Guild of America and their supporters, but also from the guild itself.
WGA West, which Maher belongs to, said in a statement that the decision to resume the show “while his guild is on strike” is “disappointing,” and urged him to “honor more than the ‘spirit of the strike,’” referencing a quote from Maher’s announcement earlier Wednesday.
Maher, the guild statement continued, “is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing service.” And confirming the guild intends to picket the show, WGA added “It is difficult to imagine how @RealTimers can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place.”
Maher announced the decision to bring the show back in a statement posted to the social media site formerly known as Twitter, saying in part, “I will honor the spirit of the strike by not doing a monologue, desk piece, New Rules or editorial.”
Maher’s decision to resume production of “Real Time” comes a day after Drew Barrymore waded into a similar wave of criticism by restarting her own talk show. But Maher had already courted criticism from fellow guild members last week after he derided the strike during his podcast, “Club Random.” Among other things, Maher called the WGA’s demands “kooky,” and said striking writers “kind of believe that you’re owed a living as a writer, and you’re not.”
Naturally, it wasn’t just the guild who called Maher out on Wednesday, but also guild members, among others.
Some compared him to Barrymore, with the running theme being that the actress is a far more sympathetic figure:
Others said it was par for the course for the comedian.
And a lot of WGA members weighed in…
Plenty of people shared Norm Macdonald’s blistering assessment of Maher — for instance:
And even Stephen King trashed the decision.
For all of TheWrap’s Hollywood strike coverage, click here.