Liberal comedian Bill Maher defended InfoWars host Alex Jones on Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, arguing that self-described liberals should be in favor of free speech as it is a core American value.
Discussing Jones’ removal from social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and others, Maher appeared to disagree with his audience and fellow panelists about whether censoring him was a step in the right direction.
“I’m going to talk about free speech for a minute because Alex Jones, who is not my friend, who tells crazy lies about me, is thrown off Twitter, I think, and Facebook and a few other platforms,” Maher said, prompting applause from the audience.
“Well, if you’re a liberal, you’re supposed to be for free speech,” Maher contended. “That’s free speech for the speech you hate. That’s what free speech means.”
“We’re losing the thread of the concepts that are important to this country,” he continued. “Either you care about the real American shit or you don’t. And if you do, it goes for every side. I don’t like Alex Jones, but Alex Jones gets to speak. Everybody gets to speak.”
Despite being a virulent critic of President Donald Trump, Maher has long been an advocate for the First Amendment, having previously been subject to no-platforming attempts at UC Berkeley for his views on Islam. Last year, he denounced left-wing opposition to free speech on university campuses as a form of “book burning.”
“Berkeley used to be the cradle of free speech, and now it’s just the cradle for f*cking babies,” he said. “And this is the liberals’ version of book burning, and it’s got to stop.”