This Is What Happens When TV Hosts Don’t Stand Up To Sexist Guests

In some circles, Milo Yiannopolous, the senior editor at Breitbart News, is the voice of a generation. But for many of us, Yiannopolous is what happens when privilege, hate, and a lack of conscientiousness collide. Oh, and he's also a favorite among white nationalists. The editor made headlines last summer after igniting a stream of racist, hateful attacks against actress and comedian Leslie Jones on Twitter. In a nutshell, Yiannopolous is king of internet trolls. Twitter was forced to ban him. On Friday night's episode of HBO's Real Time, host Bill Maher gathered a mixed bag of guests, per usual. This week's show included an uncharacteristically lighthearted one-on-one interview with the 33-year-old Yiannopolous, who made the strange choice to heavily criticize female comedians as emblematic of the Democratic party. "The Democrats are the party of Lena Dunham. These people are mental, hideous people, and the more that America sees of Lena Dunham, the fewer votes that the Democratic Party is going to get," he said according to Variety. Instead of offering a fact-based critique of his disagreements with Democratic party ideas, Yiannopolous choose take cheap shots about a woman's appearance. His comments imply that because Dunham is not a woman he personally finds attractive, she should be hidden away somewhere and not act as a spokesperson for a party. This is the literal definition of sexism. No one, conservative or liberal, should be okay with it. “Let’s not pick on fellow HBO stars,” Maher responded. This limp response is not okay. Shut that down, Maher. It's your job. The controversial guest then went on to describe Jones as "barely literate," and that she looked "like a dude." Maher's response? "Right." Excuse me? Not right. Not even relevant when the man Twitter banned for harassing her has a platform on your show. Comedians Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman were also called out for only being funny, “before they contracted feminism.” Spoken like a true misogynist. God forbid women to not appeal to this man's physical standards or make jokes that besiege his weak sense of masculinity. Though jarring and upsetting, his comments were unsurprising. However, as someone who's watched the HBO program for years, Maher's timid responses were gravely disappointing. That was just the stuff that made it to air. During Maher's "Overtime" segment online, Yiannopolous, joined former Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore, former Republican congressman, Jack Kingston, and former U.S. intelligence officer Malcolm Nance for a heated discussion.
Yiannopolous misgendered a trans woman, then continued to spew his typical hateful, ideologies, saying,"Women and girls should be protected from having men who are confused about their sexual identities in their bathroom.” Maher, very disappointingly responded, "That’s not unreasonable." Come again? First of all, how about if women get a say in this debate since there were none on the stage, rather than having a group of men decide when we need to be protected? Second, as the Huffington Post points out in their fact check of this interview, only one such bathroom attack has been reported in the last 35 years, and trans people are not confused about their sexual identities — gender and sex are different. While the other two guests were very uneasy with the direction of the conversation, Wilmore stepped up to the plate. "Go fuck yourself,” he said. Because sometimes a firm "go fuck yourself," or even tossing a middle finger to the sky can prove more cathartic than any argument. Thankfully, Wilmore continued to rip Yiannopolous a new one while adding some much-needed facts to the conversation. The thing about having a valid, respectable opinion is that you must back it up. If you don't come armed with facts to a conversation then please, excuse yourself. Over the years I've had a love-hate relationship with the host and the show. But one thing I've always respected is that Maher comes armed with real information and encourages guests to do the same. Oddly it took Wilmore to bring the conversation back to home base.

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