Bill Maher has claimed that the Olympics are more woke than the Oscars, saying it’s an example of the cancel culture ‘insanity that is swallowing up the world’.
The American TV host said that Tokyo 2020 has turned into the Oscars, which he previously said the theme of was ‘we dare you to be entertained’.
In his New Rule monologue on the latest episode of his HBO series Real Time, Maher criticised a number of people involved in the Olympics being sacked or resigning, in incidents he attributed to cancel culture.
Maher noted the opening ceremony’s musical director Keigo Oyamada resigned over a 1994 interview in which he admitted to bullying classmates when he was at school.
Maher said: ‘Remember when your teacher used to try to scare you, they’d say, “this is going to go on your permanent record”? No longer an empty threat now.’
Oyamada had admitted to bullying at least one disabled classmate, and had forced one boy to eat his own faeces and masturbate in front of other students.
The journalist also criticised the resignation of the creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies Hiroshi Sasaki, who had likened celebrity Naomi Watanabe to a pig.
Noting that the opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi was dismissed due to a joke about the Holocaust he made in a 1990s sketch, Maher said: ‘Young people have to stop flattering themselves that they’re Nostradamus, and would have foreseen had they been around then, everything that’s unacceptable now.
‘Why do we allow the people who just want to b**** to always win?’
The 65-year-old continued: ‘This is called a purge. it is a mentality that belongs in Stalin’s Russia. How bad does this atmosphere we are living in have to get before the people who say that cancel culture is overblown, admit that it is in fact an insanity that is swallowing up the world?’
Maher also mocked an article from the Associated Press that suggested that the inclusion of surfing in the Games was, for some Native Hawaiians, ‘an extension of the racial indignities seared into the history of the game and their homeland’.
He said: ‘What is this new rule that the first to do something are the only ones who get to have it?
‘Not everything is about oppression. Stealing natural resources from indigenous people, people, yes of course, that is exploitation. But I swear, not one Beach Boys song resulted in any Hawaiian having less waves to surf.
‘That’s the great thing about cultural mixing, it makes things better for everyone. BTS can be a hit in America and I can get kimchi on a taco.’
The presenter concluded: ‘We’re living now in a world where straight actors are told they can’t play gay roles, and white novelists aren’t allowed to imagine what it would be like to be a Mexican immigrant, even though trying to inhabit the life of someone else is almost the very definition of empathy, the bedrock of liberalism.’
Reaction to Maher’s monologue were split, with some criticising the star for the speech and others hailing it as brilliant.
Piers Morgan was among the latter crowd, tweeting: ‘Best 7 minutes of television this year. Thank you, Mr Maher, for being an ongoing voice of liberal reason in this increasingly insane illiberal woke world.’
In his monologue, Maher also denied that his political stance has become more conservative.
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