Former New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss and Harper's Magazine columnist Thomas Chatterton Williams appeared on "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday to explain the open letter they penned decrying "cancel culture."
Earlier this month, Chatterton spearheaded a letter signed by prominent liberals including "Harry Potter" author J. K. Rowling, political activist Noam Chomsky, and feminist icon Gloria Steinem, all defending open debate without fear of repercussions for expressing a point of view.
As Bill Maher noted, the letter faced heavy criticism from the left.
"What strikes me about it is the pushback is coming from liberals and almost everyone who signs this letter ... is a liberal!" Maher exclaimed. "Bari, the fact that you -- they call you a centrist or right-winger! I mean, if a hip, millennial, Jewish bisexual girl living in San Francisco is not a liberal ... who is these days?"
Weiss called the open letter a "warning cry from inside the institutions" and linked cancel culture to "social murder."
"What we're trying to say with the letter -- and what Thomas did in forming it -- was saying what's happening now with this growing culture of illiberalism is different from criticism," Weiss explained. "Thomas and I, you, Bill, we're used to criticism. Criticism is kosher in the work that we do. Criticism is great. What cancel culture is about is not criticism. It is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job."
"Cancel culture ... is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job."
"It's not just about punishing the sinner, it's not just about punishing the person for being insufficiently pure. It's about this sort of secondary boycott of people who would deign to speak to that person or appear on a platform with that person. And we see just very obviously where that kind of politics gets us. If conversation with people that we disagree with becomes impossible, what is the way that we solve conflict?... It's violence."
"If conversation with people that we disagree with becomes impossible, what is the way that we solve ... (Read more)
Real Time with Bill Maher had another great segment last night on the dangers of the cancel culture, which is attacking viewpoints unfairly in many cases. https://t.co/6EjqZHcgv8— Joe Strupp (@JoeStrupp) August 1, 2020
Maher panel blasts 'cancel culture': It's a form of 'social murder'https://t.co/jX5bw69opd— vernon radway (@vernonradway) August 1, 2020
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