Bill Maher couldn’t hide his contempt for the country hosting the Winter Olympics on his Friday Real Time.
Maher called out freestyle skier Eileen Gu, an American-born skier who chose to participate on China’s Olympic team for the Beijing games. Gu hasn’t said whether she gave up her American citizenship to do so, but plans to return to Stanford University and has reaped millions of dollars in product endorsements in China.
“She chose to represent a totalitarian police state over America,” Maher said, calling it an “authoritarian surveillance state.”
Acknowledging that the United States has its problems, Maher noted that at least the US is “a democracy based on freedom.” China has “jailed an entire ethnic minority,” and said it was a cynical dodge to overlook China’s sins in its treatment of Hong Kong freedom and its desire for a Taiwan take-back.
Maher recalled the outrage when NBA general manager Daryl Morey said he stood with the people of Hong Kong. There was an uncomfortable statement of regret from the NBA, with LeBron James calling for Morey’s reeducation. After all, Maher noted, James likely thought, “I got some shoes to sell.”
Kowtow is a Chinese word, but America have gotten good at it, Maher said, and will allow access to its vast markets only if you shut up about its problems. He noted how Google backed off from its “do no evil” motto to permit China to dictate terms on its operation in that country. “Okay, maybe a little evil.”
.John Cena was even worse, in Maher’s eyes. “John learned he needed some reeducation, like the Uighurs,” Maher said. Cena referred to Taiwan as a country, an unforgiveable sin in China eyes, which feels it is a renegade province. Cena subsequently issued a groveling video, apologizing. “And I thought steroids shrunk your balls,” Maher said.
He also pointed out the recent decision to remove certain flags from Tom Cruise’s jacket in the Top Gun: Maverick movie promo. “He (Cruise) used to be a maverick – now he does what China says,” Maher said.
Why, Maher asked, is it racist to question Chinese actions and motives? The fear of being accused of racism is giving a pass to China, he contended.
“We have to find out where we got this rule we can’t criticize China,” Maher concluded. “I suspect we got it from China. Because, after all, it’s where we get everything else.”
Earlier in the show, Maher had on former San Francisco assistant district attorney Brooke Jenkins, one of nearly 60 prosecutors who have resigned in that city over District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s outrageously hands-off approach to crime. Shoplifting is no longer a crime in the city, Jenkins acknowledged, a free-for-all that has led to increased lawlessness throughout San Francisco.
The panel discussion on the evening had John Avlon, senior political analyst and CNN anchor, and author of the new book, Lincoln and the Fight for Peace; and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation and columnist for the Washington Post.
Their discussion covered attempts to take down Abraham Lincoln’s reputation, how the Democratic party is in trouble with rural voters, and whether more should be done in the impending Russia-Ukraine conflict. Avlon lobbied fo something, anything to be done to help Ukraine, while Maher and Vanden Heuvel cautioned against misadventures in the region.
Watch Maher’s China editorial above.