Bill Maher Slams Paula Deen Outrage
Bill Maher emerged tonight as a rare media defender of celebrity chef Paula Deen, saying that she made a racially insensitive comment in private and that shouldn't warrant her being fired and sent away from her show. Panelist Bob Herbert clashed with Maher over his assertion, saying that uttering the n-word just crosses the line, no matter who you are. Maher maintained that Deen shouldn't have been fired, because it's a "free country, even to be an asshole."
Julia Reed admitted she was confused by Deen saying she sometimes used the n-word in a positive way. Herbert remarked that's never been the case in his experience. Reed said that even "if you're evil incarnate," you just can't say things like that and not get in trouble. Maher noted that the comment wasn't made in public, and asked if the fact that she's an old woman who was raised in pre-integrated Georgia means she "get[s] a bit of a pass." The panel really disagreed with Maher on that one.
Maher insisted that it's not worth losing her show "for one fuck-up." Herbert shot back, saying that she "gotta go away," along with anyone else, black or white, who utters the n-word. Maher disagreed, saying that America should live by its principle of being a "free country, even to be an asshole."