Bill Maher defends Jeffrey Lord's use of a Nazi slogan: "It was a joke"

Lord recently wrote an editorial claiming that CNN fired him for denouncing left-wing groups that use Nazi tactics

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published August 14, 2017 12:34PM (EDT)

 (Youtube/Real Time with Bill Maher)
(Youtube/Real Time with Bill Maher)

Former CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord defended himself in the aftermath of his firing with an editorial published by The American Spectator on Monday.

Another commentator taking up Lord's cause? Comedian Bill Maher.

Lord was fired by CNN last week for tweeting "Sieg heil!" at a critic on Twitter. In his article discussing the incident, Lord described as "Nazi-style" the efforts by left-wing groups such as Media Matters to dissuade advertisers from appearing on right-wing shows like those hosted by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

After characterizing his "Sieg heil!" tweet as an attempt to ridicule this trait of Media Matters, Lord then compares the media watchdog to the neo-Nazi rioters in Charlottesville.

I totally disagree that it is “indefensible” — much less inappropriate — to mock and condemn either those who use Nazi-style tactics or Nazis, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists — all of which were tragically on display in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Mocking and condemning is one of many ways to discredit these despicable human beings and their despicable philosophy. The very idea of treating any of those tactics, groups, or individuals with the kid gloves of a hyperventilating political correctness is itself “indefensible” — turning a blind eye to the horrific ideas and methods that lie behind them.

In a similar vein, Maher told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Monday that he fears Lord's firing is a sign of political correctness run amok.

"I don’t know how long I’m going to last, really,” Maher told Zakaria. "It’s worse every year. The things that they go after people for now. Your colleague – I don’t agree with him – Jeffrey Lord, CNN got rid of him because he said 'Sieg heil' on a tweet. It was a joke."

Maher added, "This has got to stop, this idea that people have to go away if they’ve offended me even for one moment. How about just move on, turn the page, go to the next thing in your life?"

Of course, Lord's "Sieg heil!' joke did not occur in a vacuum. Lord has repeatedly been criticized for his refusal to condemn any of President Donald Trump's racist statements, stretching all the way back to the 2016 election campaign, and he has been heavily criticized for coming across as a Trump lackey rather than a legitimate and independent-minded commentator.

It was only last month that Maher himself used the n-word in the course of a "joke" — something he partially apologized for after the fact. Mere days after that, he tweeted another line that many interpreted as racist against Koreans.

Maher's long history with using slurs and then wrapping it in the excuse of comedy was perhaps best displayed in 2001 when he used the n-word no less than 10 times in front of a black woman who was politely asking him not to do so.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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