Late-night hosts like Trevor Noah have expressed concerns that actor Jussie Smollett’s “fake hate crime” might make people more skeptical of real hate crime victims. Bill Maher thinks that might not be the worst thing.
Noting that Smollett “wanted to be a victim” but “didn’t want to go through all the steps of being one,” Maher told his panel, “I feel like we’ve gone from this place where now I hear people say, ‘Victims should be believed.’ Victims should be taken seriously. Victims should not always be believed.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Maher’s guest, former Sen. Claire McCaskill chimed in.
“Take you seriously. That’s a big difference, but we seem to have skipped that step because we always do,” he added.
Taking on another point of view, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said, “No one wants to be the victim of hate crimes. No one wants to be the victim of being attacked and brutalized because you’re gay or you’re black or you’re Jewish. That’s bullshit.”
“He wanted a pay raise and he wanted to bring attention to himself,” she continued. “I’m angry with him, I’m upset with him, and he owes not only the city of Chicago an apology—there are real-live victims out there today and I refuse to shut up because he played a terrible game and it’s painful.”
Earlier in the show, during his monologue, Maher predicted—accurately—that Fox News would “dine out” on this story. “Of course Fox News loves this story because it proves their stupid theory that racism is a hoax,” he said.