Bill Maher and controversial filmmaker Michael Moore defended singer Tony Bennett’s earlier comments this week that America “caused” the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bennett later clarified and apologized for his remarks, but on “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday, Maher said there’s now a “club” of people “accused of 9/11 hate speech” for simply stating their views.
“I’m not offended by what he said and I think it’s a brave thing to say,” Moore said, agreeing with the sentiment that American policies provoked a terror response.”If you have a pitbull in your neighbor’s backyard and you keep kicking that pitbull and then the pitbull bites you, you don’t say, oh hey why did that pitbull bit me? Cause you’ve been kicking the dog!” Moore said.
Former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman disagreed, saying that while the First Amendment protects Bennett’s right to say what he wants, when it comes to events like Sept. 11 or the Holocaust, “a lot of people take it very personally and that’s totally understandable that they do.”
Maher cut in at that point to say there needs to be “an adult discussion” where it’s understood that comments like Bennett’s have nothing to do with the individuals who died on Sept. 11.
“Nobody is saying that those specific people who died had it coming. No one is saying that. That’s how it becomes interpreted,” Maher said. “What we’re saying is that the United States has almost half a million troops in over 150 countries around the world. That is an empire. If you want to have an empire, and this country by its acquiescence of that fact certainly does, if you want to have that big a footprint, yes, there is going to be some kind of blowback.”
Moore agreed, saying Bennett’s remarks generated so many threats this week on “AM hate radio” and recalled his own now-infamous comments about the “fictitious reasons” behind the Iraq War during his 2003 Oscar acceptance speech.
Watch the full HBO segment, via Mediaite:
In the same appearance Friday, Moore also defended the health care law and similar ones around the world, saying the only “things you maybe have to wait for” are knee replacement surgery or cataract treatment.
“Things that are not life-threatening,” Moore explained. “The reason why you have to wait sometimes in those countries is they let everybody in the line. We make 50 million people out of the line so the line is shorter, so sometimes you have to wait as long. If you are a patriotic American, you want every American to be covered the same as you. No, not ‘I’m going to get ahead because I have health insurance and they don’t.”