Comedian and host of the “Club Random” podcast Bill Maher defended former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington over their ownership of slaves while talking to actor Bryan Cranston.
The duo were talking about religion and sermons when Maher brought up the topic of slavery.
“I’ve talked about it on my show, I mean, slavery, for the people who are wanting to cancel Thomas Jefferson and George Washington because they had slaves, and everybody else, in an era when everyone had slaves who could afford it, including people of color in other parts of the world.”
“It was a human thing, it’s not just a white thing,” Maher continued. “Okay, so if you’re going to cancel Jefferson and Washington, you have to cancel Jesus, because he never spoke against it, it’s not in the Old Testament, there’s a million rules about slavery, none of them are ‘don’t do it.'”
Maher then said slavery was not on anyone’s mind because “every civilization did it.” (RELATED: Maher Confronts Sean Penn Over Allegations Of Covid ‘Misinformation,’ Says US Govt Was A Purveyor)
“The Romans did it, the Egyptians did it, you know, slave comes from the word Slav.”
“So I just want to hear them answer that question, what about your boy Jesus? The Prince of Peace?”” Maher said, arguing it “never cross[ed]” Jesus’ mind to condemn slavery.”
The duo then talked about Critical Race Theory, with Cranston suggesting the U.S. has not taken responsibility for “systemic racism” and slavery, prompting Maher to push back.
Both Jefferson and Washington owned slaves. Over the past several years, statues of both have come down while schools have been renamed due to the two men’s association with slavery.
The New York City council removed a statue of Jefferson in 2021 because he owned slaves. Meanwhile an Illinois public school dropped Jefferson’s name due to his ties to slavery.