Bill Maher says his controversial interview with Milo Yiannopoulos set into motion the right-wing journalist's recent downfall, which includes the loss of his book deal and his resignation from Breitbart News.
Last week, Maher came under fire for booking Yiannopoulos on his HBO political talk show, "Real Time." The journalist Jeremy Scahill, a frequent "Real Time" guest and founder of The Intercept, cancelled his appearance on the same episode in protest.
"What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe trying to make a buck off of the left's propensity for outrage," Maher told The New York Times on Tuesday of his interview with Yiannopoulos.
"And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he's dropped as a speaker at CPAC," he continued, referring to the Conservative Political Action Conference. "Then he's dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You're welcome."
Over the weekend, a 2016 interview with Yiannopoulos resurfaced and sparked new outrage. In it, he made comments appearing to condone sexual relations "between younger boys and older men." The fallout included CPAC revoking his invitation to speak at the conference, the publisher Simon & Schuster pulling out of a planned book deal, and Yiannopoulos resigning as a senior editor at Breitbart.
Though Maher took credit for Yiannopoulos' fall from grace, he told The Times that he didn't intend to ruin his guest — no matter how much he disagrees with Yiannopoulos' opinions.
"I wasn't trying to get him removed from society," the host said. "I'm somebody who, many times, people have tried to make go away. ... It just rubs me the wrong way when somebody says, 'I don't like what this person is saying — he should go away.'"
As for critiques that he went too easy on the controversial guest, Maher said: "It's not my job to hold him accountable to everything he's ever said or done. I had eight minutes with him on the show itself. Sorry I don't have time to go over everything everybody else would want to do. We just had time to sort of start a discussion of the broad view of who he is."
Editor's note: Milo Yiannopoulos has previously written columns published by Business Insider.
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