Maher slams petition to rescind Berkeley commencement speaking invite
- Maher calls student protest of his commencement speech “ironic” because Berkeley's free speech movement, and far-left politics.
- The comedian claims the university is on his side and says he still plans on delivering the speech.
- The petition protesting Maher’s speech currently has 5,000 signatures.
Bill Maher responded to the UC-Berkeley petition to rescind his invitation to speak at the university's December commencement.
“Although I never attended Berkeley, I was very aware of their place in the American debate, on the far left,” said Maher on Friday's edition of Real Time with Bill Maher. “The Democratic party is sold out to the center and even the far right. This is what is needed. This is why I wanted to accept this invitation.”
Maher slammed the petitioners in light of the liberal university’s reputation for supporting free speech.
“And they invited me because it is the 50th anniversary of the something that is legendary on that campus, the Berkeley free speech movement,” said Maher. “I guess they don’t teach irony in college anymore.”
WATCH: Maher slams the Berkeley petitioners.
“When a few thousand people online, who didn’t have to do anything more than to click a button, who didn’t even go to Berkeley necessarily, wanted me to be disinvited as the commencement speaker because, you know, I’m a racist. Right, because Islam is a race.”
Maher also cited his civil relationship with his “most respectable critic,” Muslim author Reza Aslan, as evidence that he was not bigoted.
“If even my most respectable critic, who’s a Muslim, says [Maher is not a bigot], what leg does this “protest” have to stand on?” Maher asked. “He and I disagree on some stuff, but he is always welcome on this show. That’s how it’s done kids. Whoever told you, you only had to hear what didn’t upset you.”
Maher told audience members that Berkeley officials are siding with him on the justification that “we’re liberals, we’re supposed to like free speech.” He confirmed that he still plans to speak at the fall commencement, but says his only reservation is taking the event away from the graduates, and instead turning it into a media frenzy. Maher says his speech will contain life tips for students that he has learned going through life.
Maher finished his soliloquy with a final request of liberal student.
“So here is my final plea to you liberal, in the truest sense of the word, college students, not just at Berkeley but all over the country, please weigh in on this. My reputation isn’t on the line, yours is,” Maher concluded.
The commencement is set to take place on Dec. 20.
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