HBO “Real Time” viewers hated Matt Lewis‘ shirt Friday night.
He showed up to the Los Angeles-based show hosted by lefty Bill Maher in a long sleeved bright green checkered shirt. A human springtime picnic blanket if you will.
“On initial contact, I was offended, but then I saw the Polo logo,” said a Washington journalist who watched the show and forgave Lewis after he noticed the expensive branding.
There are worse fates than being turned into a piece of meat for wearing what many believed to be an ugly shirt on TV. Just ask Lewis, who spent two days flying back and forth to LA only to be called racist before he ever opened his mouth.
People in the journalism industry often insist women on TV get it the worst. And indeed, they have it bad. But even women on the radio have to endure an excess of critics. Earlier in the month, SiriusXM “Press Pass” host Julie Mason unloaded her angst in a Facebook post.
“Another day and more random strangers urgently telling me how to do my job. Always very entitled men with zero knowledge of news, broadcasting, politics or my actual contract,” she wrote. “But they are confident and sure they know better. Invariably they get quite buttsore when I am not humbled and grateful that they took the time to correct and instruct me, so they start calling me names, like ‘nasty,’ ‘bitchy’ and ‘arrogant.’ Thanks for the laughs, guys!”
But the reality is that men are also punching bags for strangers who feel like giving TV journalists and politicians running reviews of their hair, weight, skin and attire. Just ask New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who gets dogged by his heft at every turn.
“I thought it was awesome. I love that shirt,” another Washington journalist with a minority viewpoint said of Lewis’ green gingham shirt.
Also in the minority was this guy, Rat Lung Pictures. But can his taste even be trusted? He appears to be smoking a bowl. Lewis isn’t complaining — he’ll take sartorial compliments where he can get them.
Incidentally, Lewis has also taken heat for his Twitter avatar.
When he wrote a story about conservative journalists getting out of the ghetto, some of the replies included:
- “You should actually get out of country lol. Moron.”
- “Eww. Terrible bio photo. Fire that photographer.”
Getting back to that green checkered button-down, crap came at Lewis from all angles. Even in a text from a female liberal friend.
Lewis didn’t reply with words. Instead, he sent a photograph of himself in a college band wearing a deep blue top.
More hatred about his green checkered shirt arrived from the Twitterati. Oftentimes a crack about his shirt buttressed complaints about his intelligence.
The hate didn’t let up.
Lewis told The Mirror that he has never received so much response on his attire.
Even after all this, he said he’s still going to wear the questionable shirt. “I think the shirt looks good,” he said defiantly. “That’s why I wore it on television. And in fairness, there were a few favorable comments about the shirt.”
Negative responses to how he looks only bother Lewis if it’s someone who matters. If someone is a loser with few Twitter followers — who cares? “But if I look and it’s someone who is legitimate then I would be a little taken aback,” he said.
Lewis says he got a lot of reaction because he wasn’t wearing the conservative uniform.
“In all seriousness…we’re always hearing that female commentators go on TV and all they hear about is what outfit they were wearing,” he said. “Maybe I am a sex symbol, I am not sure. I was actually surprised by it.
“I don’t know if it was because it was colorful, but maybe because conservatives are supposed to be old white men who wear blue suits and red neckties. Maybe that was part of the problem — I wasn’t playing the role they expected me to play. I think it offended liberals that I wasn’t wearing the uniform that informed everybody that I was the token conservative. I think if I’d been wearing a blue or white shirt and a little American lapel pin, a bow-tie — I won’t even go there. I’m not allowed to talk about Fox News or bow-ties.”
Lewis, who writes for The Week, The Daily Caller and The Daily Beast and hosts a weekly podcast, explained that when he normally does TV it’s a cable news format that typically demands a blazer and a necktie. But this was late-night TV.
“This is an HBO …so I thought maybe go a little cas,” he said. “Maybe they would’ve preferred it if I’d worn a confederate flag T-shirt.”
Editor’s Note: In honor of all the mean tweets Lewis received, The Daily Caller put together a “mean tweets” video. Video by Grae Stafford. Watch below.