Bill Maher: Calling Palin C-Word Okay — But Limbaugh “Slut” Comments Unacceptable
10:30 am, March 15th | by Laura Donovan
Just when you thought the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke debacle couldn’t get any more ridiculous, comedian Bill Maher upped the ante by reminding us that he defended Limbaugh in the past — but that his own name-calling of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was not as bad as the conservative radio host’s “slut” and “prostitute” remarks and was taken out of context.
Speaking to ABC’s Jake Tapper, Maher addressed the story we wish would disintegrate and said his abusive words about Palin weren’t that bad since she was in the public eye, unlike Fluke, a law student who merely wanted to testify before Congress about contraception:
“To compare that to Rush is ridiculous – he went after a civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on the public airwaves. I used a rude word about a public figure who gives as good as she gets, who’s called people ‘terrorist’ and ‘unAmerican.’ Sarah Barracuda.”
Call me a naive country bumpkin, but I was unaware that “unAmerican” and the “c” word are equally awful. Maher attests his situation is unlike Limbaugh’s because he himself is “a comedian – not just a guy who says he is, like Rush…There’s a big difference between just saying you’re a comedian and going out and getting thousands of people to laugh hard for 90 minutes.” Sure, it was during standup — but that doesn’t make it okay. Maher goes on to add that calling Palin the “c” word brought about “one of the biggest laughs in [his] act” and that “not one person ever registered disapproval” of it. He sure learned his lesson.
On using that colorful word to describe Palin, Maher said, “[I]t was a routine where that word came in at just the right moment. Context is very important, and it’s also important to remember that stand-up comedy is the final frontier of free speech.” Unless he was using the “c” word in reference to the weather, we don’t see how any context could mitigate the offensiveness of that term.
Upon illustrating the differences between he and Limbaugh, Maher explains that he stood up for the right-leaning figure on Twitter, undermining his entire “holier than thou” argument:
“And through it all, I have defended Rush’s right to stay on the air! Not what he said, that was disgusting – but the right to not disappear because people who don’t even listen to you don’t like what you said. That really bothers me.”
And I have defended Rush, what a stand-up guy. Maher, who is obviously unapologetic about using misogynistic words to talk about Palin, is either better than Limbaugh or just the same, but lamenting that he was supportive of Limbaugh and is still getting slammed demonstrates he’s just ticked that the boys club isn’t coming to his house to play anymore. Our advice? Get over it or recognize that you can’t have it both ways.