Bill Maher: those who protest me “don’t get to wear je suis Charlie buttons.”

Bill Maher: Those Who Protest Me “Don’t Get to Wear ‘Je Suis Charlie’ Buttons”

Bill Maher: Those Who Protest Me “Don’t Get to Wear ‘Je Suis Charlie’ Buttons”

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Jan. 18 2015 12:30 PM

Bill Maher: Those Who Protest Me “Don’t Get to Wear ‘Je Suis Charlie’ Buttons”

Bill Maher took aim at his critics on his show this week, saying that it’s hypocritical of them to protest his views about Islam and then act as though they are defenders of free speech. Maher made specific reference to protesters at the University of California–Berkeley who tried to prevent him from delivering the speech at the winter commencement ceremony last month.

“It reminds me of one of the protest signs I saw in Berkeley last month,” Maher said. “It said, ‘Islamophobia kills.’ Does it? Islamophobia kills? Maybe it’s more the AK-47s and the beheadings and the planes into buildings.”

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He then went on to compare the protests to bullying:

Liberals hate bullying, alright—but they’re not opposed to using it. When they casually throw out words like ‘bigot’ and ‘racist’ it does cow people into avoiding this debate. And if you’re doing that, you don’t get to wear the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ button. The button you should wear is "Je suis part of the problem."

Last year, Ben Affleck said Maher’s views on Islam were “gross and racist.”

Maher went on to say that even though he’s not a fan of Rush Limbaugh, “... if you’re one of the people with a website devoted to making him go away you are part of the problem.” Furthermore, if you push for a boycott of Limbaugh, you’re “not even a proper liberal because you don’t get free speech, you’re just a baby who can’t stand to live in a world where you hear things that upset you.”

“Opinions shouldn’t be illegal,” Maher added. “Everyone can always come up with a reason why the thing that bugs you should get a waiver, but free speech only works if there are no waivers, including for religion.”

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Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.