Maher called out the “a**hole division” of right-wing public figures who made critical comments
Broadcast personality Bill Maher had some words for the right-wingers verbally attacking Olympic gymnast Simone Biles following her withdrawal from multiple events to prioritize her mental health.
“In a week where there was a lot of things, unfortunately, to be depressed about…I must say the award for lowest, vilest was the conservatives who went after Simone Biles,” Maher said Friday night during his HBO show Real Time.
Bill Maher Performs During New York Comedy Festival at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Maher called out several conservative critics for their comments calling Biles’ character and loyalty to America into question, including talk show hosts Charlie Kirk, Piers Morgan and Buck Sexton as well as Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz, referring to them all as the “a**hole division.”
“This is not a choice,” Maher said, referring to Biles’ mental health. “We ran this poor girl, this amazing machine, until she, not permanently, but temporarily was just broken.”
“Can you imagine the anxiety?” he added. “These armchair quarterbacks sitting there with f***ing crumbs on their shirt, looking at someone who twists and flies in the air and lands on a little strip. Where’s your mental toughness?”
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, who was a guest during the episode, replied saying: “My response to that, they can kiss my overworked Black woman ass.”
“I saw an article today from Glamour magazine which really was fascinating to me, talking about what this young woman had been through,” she added. “Overcoming the sexual scandal that occurred in gymnastics. Having the kind of pressure on her. Being the best gymnast that has ever been in this field. And she needs the opportunity if she wants to rest.”
Plunkett elaborated that the article discussed “the fact that historically, culturally, Black women have never had the opportunity to rest, to say ‘I’ve had enough, I’m tired.’ We helped build this country.”
Maher responded: “I don’t think she wants to rest. We pushed her to the ultimate limit. She sucked it up as long as she could. Can you imagine the anxiety? I mean, how do you even sleep? I know now that when you don’t sleep fully, and I mean fully, you’re at way less capacity.”
Political author Joshua Green was also a guest panelist on the show and offered that the right-wing backlash was predictable in our current political ecosystem.
“I mean, everybody saw this coming, right?” Green said. “It’s part of that ecosystem of right-wing bating that sparks an angry counter-reaction among liberals. Everybody starts screaming and fighting, and trying to cancel each other, and what they’ve done is politicize something that isn’t remotely political.”
Maher had more to say on cancel culture during the episode, criticizing the Olympics for being, in his view, more “woke” than the Oscars. As part of his rationale, he referenced a recent Associated Press article calling out the Olympics for perpetuating the “whitewashing” of surfing by promoting many of the non-Hawaiians who have made the sport mainstream without recognizing the cultural and spiritual significance it has for many native Hawaiians.
“This is called a purge,” Maher said of the climate in the U.S. and increasingly elsewhere. “It’s a mentality that belongs in Stalin’s Russia. How bad does this atmosphere we are living in have to get before people who say cancel culture is overblown have to admit that it is, in fact, an insanity that is swallowing up the world.”
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