HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher defended Sen. Bernie Sanders over allegations of sexual harassment and violence on his 2016 campaign Thursday, saying that while harassment was “not cool,” he liked Sanders’ response to the scandal.
“Harassment in the Bernie campaign not cool, but I like his response to Did you know?:’I was a little busy running around the country trying to make the case,'” Bill Maher said, sardonically adding, “I’m sure Dems will do what they do best and destroy another of their leaders.”
Sanders is not actually a Democrat, but an independent.
Maher’s statement comes after Bernie Sanders outraged many progressives with his response to claims that allegations of sexual misconduct weren’t taken seriously by high-ranking officials in his 2016 campaign.
A group of former staffers, both male and female, signed a letter alleging “sexual violence and harassment” within the campaign. The group also wanted to discuss a “pervasive culture of toxic masculinity in the campaign world.”
Sanders, when questioned about the letter on CNN, said he was “a little bit busy running around the country” and wasn’t aware of the allegations.
Sen. @BernieSanders tells @andersoncooper he had no knowledge of allegations of sexual harassment and pay discrimination against women in his campaign organization during his 2016 bid for the White House, adding, "of course, if I run [again], we will do better next time." pic.twitter.com/2tPlmiYfB3
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 3, 2019
This was seen by many as him not taking the allegations seriously, and led to swift backlash from many leftists.
A column published in The Huffington Post read:
The survivors are right to protest: In one breath, Sanders minimized the allegations to a matter of hurt “feelings” while also implying such matters were beneath his notice. He talked up how successful his campaign had been ― then said the women who worked on it, and who made it so fabulously successful, were not people he paid attention to or cared about.
This is not the first time Maher has had an opinion that ran afoul of progressives, nor is it the first time he’s taken a contrarian stance on allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
The HBO host has repeatedly criticized the Democratic Party for what he sees as its willingness to capitulate to Republicans.
In September, he called on Al Franken, who resigned from the Senate over allegations of sexual misconduct, to “[get] back in the game.”
“You know what? America always overreacts and then has buyer’s remorse. We did it with 9/11, and Janet Jackson’s nipple, and bird flu, and Bill Clinton’s blow job. And certainly, the all-time overreaction was ‘Al Franken: sex predator,'” Maher said.