Comedian Bill Maher is being criticized by left-leaning pundits and activists for saying a lack of parenting might be a contributing factor to many cases of alleged police brutality.
Discussing the October 26 incident at Spring Valley High in Columbia, South Carolina, on his Friday show, Maher arrived at a conclusion that is at odds with popular narratives about race and law enforcement over a video that shows a deputy forcibly removing a non-compliant black female student from a classroom.
That deputy was later fired.
During a panel discussion on Real Time, Maher said that “lack of parenting” is the root cause of some cases of police brutality, suggesting many parents are failing to discipline their children, which leads them to lack respect for authority.
“I have sympathy for people in authority because I think parents just let kids do anything these days,” said Maher. He then asked if he was wrong to say that “it’s overzealous policing and under zealous parents.”
Several left-leaning sites have unleashed on Maher following the segment, with some saying he “missed the mark entirely” regarding his hypothesis on the South Carolina incident.
“Should a girl who refuses to leave her desk in a classroom be smashed against the ground and dragged, with her desk, by a police officer just to show her who’s boss,” wrote James Joiner of The Daily Beast.
Another site, Alternet, called Maher a “tone-deaf” and “confused old man” for his opinion on the matter.
“Why would a bulky police officer need to violently toss a 16-year-old who wasn’t posing any harm to anyone?” asked writer Adam Johnson. “How much did race factor into his decision to go full Charles Bronson since we know, statistically, African-American female pupils are punished more harshly than their white counterparts?”
Users on Twitter also shared their opinions of Maher:
— tbplus2 (@TaniaBradkin) October 31, 2015
— Lech Lecha (@KalleeMerra) October 31, 2015
— concerned citizen (@18USC241) October 31, 2015
— Joey Kittens (@JoeyKittens) October 31, 2015
— Mary Mathieu (@LiberalHDWoman) October 31, 2015