HBO host Bill Maher defended Fox News host Laura Ingraham during a panel discussion on Friday’s “Real Time,” calling the boycott against her an attempt to stifle free speech.
Maher, who said that he disagrees with Ingraham politically, also noted that she should have the right to push back against the Parkland shooting survivors who have placed themselves in the political arena.
“I want to defend Laura Ingraham. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it has to do with the Parkland kids and guns and free speech. Now, I think those kids did a great thing, they put this issue in a place we’ve never had it before, and I wish them success. But, you know, if you’re going to be out there in the arena, and make yourselves the champions of this cause, people are going to have the right, I think, to argue back.”
While suggesting that Ingraham should not have commented about David Hogg and the colleges that had not accepted him, Maher made it clear that he felt that staging a boycott against her was not the correct response. “He calls for a boycott of her sponsors. Really? Is that American? And he complains about bullying? That’s bullying. I have been the victim of a boycott of sponsors. I lost a job once. It is wrong.”
Maher also called into question the idea that many of the Parkland survivors had jumped into the public conversation and then hid behind their age to shut down the opposing side. “It can’t be the case that you are your own human shield. I understand they’re in high school. So, if they say something, people do have the right to answer back,” he said.
When presented with the idea that a boycott could be considered “part of free speech,” Maher immediately fired back, saying a boycott was “effectively … the modern way of cutting off free speech.”