Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” is an enthusiastic supporter of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s surprising leap into social media.
Musk last week purchased 9.2% of social media giant Twitter, where he already has 80.5 million followers and is now the single largest shareholder. He is also joining the company’s board of directors, and Maher, described by some as a left-of-center libertarian, believes this will end the platform’s control of free speech.
After claiming Twitter improved when former President Donald Trump was removed, Maher asserted the move is “bad for free speech.” The longtime liberal host, when pressed on the 1st Amendment applying only to government suppression of expression and not that by private companies, made a poignant comparison.
Unlike 1980, Twitter is now the “public square” where denying a person’s right to speak is akin to — if not exactly the same — as saying they no longer have free speech rights.
The host points to Twitter’s banning of debate over the coronavirus’ possible origin in a Chinese lab when there was a Wuhan lab “that was studying coronavirus.” Calling the prohibition “outrageous,” Maher added he believes that is what Musk wants to correct at Twitter.
The advent of woke America has seen Maher, an unabashed critic of most conservatives, turn his criticisms towards “Woketopia.” In a scathing comparison of China’s accomplishments against what he calls “American silliness,” Maher notes that if China needs a dam they build one, while the U.S. debates on what to name it.
Whatever one’s opinion is of Musk or anyone else who is too rich to be “canceled,” it is notable when a forward thinking individual who does not have to worry one whit about the woke mob speaks their mind. And the meeting of the minds between Maher and Musk, who may not have much else in common, is refreshing for those concerned that tech giants now have so much power to suppress dissenting voices.
Yes, Bill Maher will always be first and foremost a liberal voice, but he should be respected for his willingness to cast aspersions onto his own party when he believes they are wrong. And in this case of one free-thinker rallying behind another free-thinker, the cause for free speech and against corporate control just got stronger.