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Maher defends Paula Deen to black guest: The N-word is ‘just a word’ (Video)
Bill Maher was at odds with his Real Time panel on Friday, coming to the defense of now-former Food Network personality Paula Deen in the wake of revelations she used the racial slur “ni–er” freely in the past.
“People shouldn’t have to lose their shows and go away when they do something bad,” said Maher, who was criticized himself in 2011 for referring to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a “c-nt” in his stand-up act. “It’s just a word. It’s a wrong word. She was wrong to use it. But do we always have to make people go away?”
“If they use that word? Yeah,” journalist and Demos senior fellow Bob Herbert answered. “They gotta go away.”
“I disagree,” Maher answered. “She fucked up. Really, for one fuck up?”
“Didn’t sound like it was one,” Herbert countered.
“That’s somebody else’s testimony,” Maher insisted after some cross-talk between the panelists. “That’s not what she said.”
“You can’t call somebody a racist anymore,” said Herbert, who is African-American. “You gotta have like dyed-in-the-wool proof and that sort of thing. There’s gotta be some kind of a line. So, for me, that word is the line. People need to stop using that word.”
“Did you watch her show?” Maher interjected. When Herbert said he did not, Maher continued, “So I’m guessing lots of black people did not watch her show.”
“Yeah? What’s that got to do with her using the n-word?” Herbert shot back. “The brothers need to stop using the n-word. Nobody should be using that word.”
“So they should go away, too?” Maher responded. “So, what, we should ban rap records?”
“Don’t get me started,” Herbert answered. “I don’t like gangsta rap.”
“It’s gotta be a free country, even to be an asshole,” Maher said.
“It’s a free country,” Herbert responded. “She’s got the right to say that word. It’s not illegal to say that word. But her boss said, ‘You’ve gotta go if you’ve used that word.’”
Deen’s fellow Southerner, Newsweek contributing editor Julia Reed, told Maher the former TV chef she did not understand Deen’s explanation that she used it in a positive sense.
“I thought everybody had sort of figured out that we’re not supposed to go there anymore,” Reed said to Maher. “Even if you’re the worst person on the planet, most of the time, unless you’re one of the congressmen you love so much with the fetal masturbation, you know, don’t say this, do not say this, especially if you’re on TV. Even if you’re evil incarnate, don’t let people know it, or you’re gonna lose your TV show.”
But while saying he didn’t excuse Deen’s use of the slur, Maher continued to put up arguments for taking it easy on her.
“I’m just wondering, if you’re 66 years old, and you were raised in Georgia, and you were a child before the Civil Rights movement, do you get a bit of a pass?” Maher asked his guests, who quickly said no. “Or do say, ‘No, you’ve had 40 years to get used to the vernacular.’”
Watch the discussion.
- Maher often makes good arguments - this, however, was not one of them. Her bosses had the last word on this; they made the decision after seeing how she hurt their brand. They're allowed to do that. Deen was foolish for not realizing that.
- Nigger. Nigger. Nigger.
What's the problem?
- Maher doesn't get to decide this.
- I agree with Maher, which is different from the misleading headline of the post.
- “It’s gotta be a free country, even to be an asshole,” Maher said."
That sums it up right there. I generally like Maher, agree with many of his opinions but somewhere down the line, he wants his freedom to be an asshole and that may include using the N word. He may need that card someday.
- If this gets rid of gansta rap, I am all for it.
- r6 was gonna say the say
- Gangsta rap was basically implemented and promoted by white people
- I disagree with him on this but that's beside the point. There are also SO many other reasons to hate greedy Deen. She should have been fired long ago.
- That's very true, R8. Sad, but true. Blacks have very little real power in rap. This includes Jay Z.
I agree with you, R5.
- Paula Deen is free to use any offensive slur she wants. Her employee does not have to put up with it.
- Thank god a wealthy white male has contributed his opinion.
- Paula Deen should disappear not just from TV, but from this world! Her beliefs and thoughts and words and actions are oppressing black people and yet she acts like she is against oppression.
She needs to go and disappear. That is the only way to heal the wounds she caused.
- R8 No, gangster rap is a product of black culture. The glorification of violence, gang activity and drug dealing. Dreams of being a real-life Tony Montana (Scarface). If anyone remembers the MTV show "Cribs" there were a lot of rappers on and everyone of them had the movie and movie poster of Scarface.
- r11: I think this is what most people defending her fail to realize. She can think, say & do anything she wants. No one's saying she doesn't - except the network that pays her millions every year.
- You are so wrong R14, that gansta crap is white backed shite.
This was black rap...pay close attention to the lyrics of the second rapper.
- I don't think that this has much to do with Paula Deen or what words she's used. Maher has good reason to be sensitive to people losing their tv shows over something they said.
He lost his show for saying that you could call the 9/11 hijackers a lot of things but "cowards" isn't one of them. People went mental. Ari Fleisher, Bush's press secretary, used his position at the White House podium to tell everyone that Bill Maher - and all Americans - ought to watch what they say. The whole thing was disgraceful.
- He's full of shit.
She is free to use that word all she likes.
AND the food channel is free to dump her ass because they don't want to be associated with her.
THAT'S freedom for everyone.
The fact is this...you can say whatever you like in this country, but if there are repercussions then suck it up. That's the risk you run for being an asshole.
- Maher's not all that bright.
- The fun rap R14, teenager Will Smith.
- Did anyone else see the footage of her -from before all of this came out- where she introduces some black guy who's an employee, brings him out and this is what happened...
- R16 You're wrong. Gangster rap developed over years with increasing boundary pushing of what is exceptable to say in public. That example you gave is from a mainstream movie before gangster rap became popular. Of course, it would be tame. You could still see many of the same themes gangster rap would cover later. Gangster rap is from the experiences, thoughts and dreams of black people. No white person put those words in their mouths.
- No, they didn't put the words in their mouths, labels paid them to do it, R22. Money talks. Rap and hip hop had to be quickly changed from a black cultural information system to a degrading shock value exhibit that ultimately was promulgated by black men, paid for by sleazy, racist, exploitive WHITE record label owners who hate black people. Consciousness became bling bling and so on.
I mean, the black men took the money, but no, they had no editorial control. And most were gay, dl thug types.
- Perfectly stated R12; I agree.
- They were gay R23? I know this is off topic, but who were the gay/DL ones?
- R23 No, black gay men are not to blame for gangster rap. Your view gets more away from the truth with every post. White executives paid black artists for decades to write music from jazz to R&B to disco to soul. The lyrics to those songs weren't degrading. Gangster rap developed from competition among black rappers to see who could be the "baddest."
- The gangsta rap thing is off topic and complete bullshit.
We are talking about a white woman and her white brother making people they worked with uncomfortable by making racist jokes and remarks. Stay on topic.
- Yes R23, Rapper mos def knowing and showing support for the Sister on the run, I don't want to type her name. Can you imagine any of today's gansta rap asses being so educated?
The white executives would only greenlight the song if they were calling the Sister a ho.
- “I’m just wondering, if you’re 66 years old, and you were raised in Georgia, and you were a child before the Civil Rights movement, do you get a bit of a pass?”
That statement pisses me off! My mother grew up in California in the 40s and 50s and she has never called anyone nigger nor use any derogatory name calling. When they treated African American people badly years ago she thought it was horrible and she did not agree with it in the slightest degree. I had a professor once who said IF you were alive before and during the Civil Rights movement, and you were white, you were a racist! To over generalize people and lump innocent people with bad people is completely rotten and cruel!
There seems to be many sheltered, Ivy League people on this thread who grew up with mummy and daddy in Connecticut and who give themselves a major pat on the back for acting overly self-righteous to compensate for guilt growing up in well to do environments. I grew up in a working class very diverse environment. the African Americans used to call each other nigger a lot. If someone else called them nigger, all hell broke lose. Also, not all but many black kids in school were very racist. They called the Hispanic kids beaners, wetbacks, gay kids faggots, etc. However, if anyone said anything against those black kids, they would beat the hell out of those kids ,and the school staff would back them up playing the PC game.
About the rapping argument claiming that it's white people's fault, shove your bullshit elsewhere. There are white people on this thread who feel guilty because they grew up in well to do backgrounds ,which is silly. No one put a gun to the rapper's head's to use the word nigger. They are grown adults who knew and who know what they are saying. They don't care because money talks and their music sells.
I think in Paula Deen's case she is a scatter brain and her bulb isn't that bright. Also, she has many African American friends,so if she is prejudice, they would have split because they were not born yesterday I'm sure. BTW, If phony Food Network is so concern with their image then why does that fat, obnoxious, rich bitch, snob Ina still have a show when she dissed a little kid fighting for his life ,and his request in Make A Wish Foundation was just to spend a day cooking with her? The Food Network executives are a bunch of phony Southampton snobs.
BTW,aside from all of this, some weeks ago Wendy Williams said, many white people act nice to African Americans and they think that they are with it being open minded when in reality you are a major racists. So some of you on this thread who think you are open minded and are not racists might be surprised because some African Americans like Wendy Williams think the opposite of you, which is ridiculous.
- Yes, as everyone, everywhere, knows: that he-she horse speaks for all black people.
- Someone in her position should have known better. And she should have settledb the lawsuit This is one clueless woman. I don't wish her any harm but no one will ever be able to watch her show without thinking of the slave wedding and the n word. The question is how will her idiot sons survive this? By having black guests every week.
- R21, the problem with your post to that link is she is correct. You really cant see the black guy on the black background, just look at the pic and be honest.
Here is a little art lesson for you. A hue is the color on a spectrum or wheel. A shade is how dark or light that color is. Saturate is the intensity of the color. And value, is when two different colors are the same brightness or darkness.
That guy in the pic is the same value as the background even though they are different colors.
Dean is correct on that observation as far as a camera picking him up and separating him from the background.
- R29, his comment specifically mentioned people who grew up in the south, Georgia specifically. Not Cali. A different set of life lessons from that period of time. I would expect your mother wouldn't be dropping the N word. It wasn't part of the ugly history of the state.
One thing about the friends who claim Deen was not a racist, it's all about your audience. Certainly there are those stupid people who spew their hate and vile to everyone, but I know people who have friendships and socialize with their black associates but behind closed doors with like minded people, it's a different story.
- Southern white culture is so ugly.
- R29, when did you come out to your working-class, non-racist parents and how did they handle it?
- In a far-off Georgian galaxy long, long ago, Paula Deen was working as a bank teller. One day, the bank was robbed by "an african-american gentleman," who held a gun to her head.
If the "story" is that she "probably" used the n-word in the past, how important is it now?
Sure, she would have been much better off had she called the bank robber an asshole.
- R36 can't seem to pay attention.
It was not all set in the past. Her brother is being accused of long term persistent harassment based on racist 'jokes', including his calling President Obama a 'nigger'. She admitted laughing at racist jokes and that her husband uses the word too.
- [quote]Gangster rap is from the experiences, thoughts and dreams of black people.
Spoken like a true white person. Simmer down, Maude.
- [quote]You are so wrong [R14], that gansta crap is white backed shite.
You mean "Jews," dear. That's what black leaders have always said.
- He's sensitive to people losing their jobs for saying things that are considered controversial. He was fired by ABC from "Politically Incorrect".
From Wiki... ABC decided against renewing Maher's contract for Politically Incorrect in 2002, after he made a controversial on-air remark shortly after the September 11 attacks. He agreed with his guest, conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza, that the 9/11 terrorists did not act in a cowardly manner (in rebuttal to President Bush's statement calling 9/11 hijackers cowards). Maher said, "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from two thousand miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly. You're right."
- Maher would likely feel very different if he were a black person...case closed. People can say what they want about this situation, but, the N word will always be highly insulting to black people...especially when coming from a white person.
- R2: Are you satisfied with yourself?
- [quote]BTW, If phony Food Network is so concern with their image then why does that fat, obnoxious, rich bitch, snob Ina still have a show
A good question. Why is homophobic douche Guy Fieri (ne Ferry) on 8 hours a day?
- It seems like a lot of you have a lot invested in The Food Network and the personalities featured on that channel.
- I think the question is whether Paula is intentionally racist or just stupidly insensitive. I'm willing to believe the latter. On the other hand, someone with a national show, a magazine, multiple sites and endorsements should know better. I have no problem with FN making a prudent business decision.
- OK, I just have to point something out.....since the beginning of this year, how many sports players have been called out for using the "F" word? I can think of quite a few. These stories are all the same, they stand up in front of a barrage of media, issuing the same insincere statement of apology written by some PR flunky...."oh I did not intend to offend anyone, oh I am so deeply sorry if my comments hurt anyone, I am attending sensitivity training now blah blah blah". From there, they go back to the team as if nothing happened, as long as they said "I'm sorry" it must be OK. No contracts are severed, no players are terminated. Now Paula follows the very same scenario, right down to the clumsy apology, and the poor woman gets her ass run up a flagpole for doing so.
What have we learned here? The severity of the punishment is directly related to which group is offended. You might suffer a little embarrassment for using the F-word, have to stand up and say how sorry you are, but your life remains pretty much unchanged. Say the N-word however, and you get torn down to the ground, and your life is a wretched place to be. Hypocrisy much??????
- Wendy Williams was extremely nasty about Paula Deen, wow! She said she never liked her etc. Then Wendy Williams said Paula needs to retire, really Wendy? Why? because YOU say so? Also, Wendy said they need to Get Al Sharpton on Paula Deen, right! Al is a good example, he hates Jews and he calls Jews diamond dealers, bastard! What a bitch! She acts like the queen bee and I can't stand her. I watched a couple of Wendy's shows ,but I'm ditching the bitch's show completely.
- If Paula is making racist comments about her black friend in front of an audience in NYC, just imagine what she says in private back in GA.
- The Paula Deen Affair has brought out the worst qualities in the country's liberals--the righteousness and the unwillingness to forgive. She apologized. What else should she do? Slit her wrists on public TV?
- R46. Isaiah Washington lost his job.
But the point is, and where the confusion lies, Paula wasn't fired for saying the n word. Read the complaint.
- [quote]The Paula Deen Affair has brought out the worst qualities in the country's liberals--the righteousness and the unwillingness to forgive. She apologized. What else should she do?
I accept her apology, but I'm not the person to whom she should be apologizing. The thing is, just because she's sorry (or sorry she got caught, if you're cynical), that doesn't immediately absolve her and give her the right to her TV empire.
Last I checked, the First Amendment only gave you the right to say the n-word without government interference, it didn't say anything about getting to keep your TV cooking show and endorsements.
-See also: sponsors that pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh.
-See also: ESPN pulling Hank Williams' song from Monday Night Football.
-See also: Grey's Anatomy firing Isaiah Washington.
The Voice of the Night
- r18 got it.
People like Maher use "free speech" as if it's the right to have someone give you a TV contract.
Freedom of speech was conceived to protect you from the government. She wasn't arrested or fined.
If Food Network had breached her contract, this might be a different case, but why did they have to keep paying her?
Free speech is now subsidized speech? No.
- When blacks stop using the N word, they can tell other cultures not to use it. It's hard for them to say anything with groups like Niggers With Attitude and that's just for openers.
- r46 got it absolutely right. The media is all about double standards.
- It's amazing how people want to try to obscure the real issues here.
- R46 is the biggest hypocrite here.
- [quote]When blacks stop using the N word, they can tell other cultures...
"cultures"??? WTF? People aren't a part of a "culture" by basis of their skin color. Culture is about the ideas you adopt as a basis for thinking and living. Yes, some people are just sponges to their environment, but not everyone is.
- r56 is the biggest liar here.
- Great retort, R58.
- Well r59, the retort in r58 was pretty much identical to your spewing of baseless projection, so I'd say it was on target.
- R57, are you really surprised at his level of ignorance? Racism and ignorance go hand-in-hand.
- Baseless only to a complete idiot, R60.
But then that makes sense.
- The Food Network is being very niggardly.
- r46 was correct, and the idiot who keeps posting pissy retorts about it is our resident homophobe who likes calling people "diseased faggots" and falsely accusing people of being racist.
- I wonder what Maher's black girlfriends have to say about that. Oh, I forgot, he PAYS them...
- What a fucking idiot Maher is. She should be given a pass because she's from the south and heard the word?
Goes to show you that the absence of religion does not erase bigotry and just flat out utter stupidity.
- Prove it, R64. Point to a single phobic post by me.
Your deflection is pathetic. You don't like it when you're called out on your racism, but you will have to deal with it.
Calling people 'faggot' is about what people do in bed,r46-no one would know a person is gay unless their opinion is based on stereotypical femme or butch mannerisms. There are wealthy white men in the highest positions of power who are gay but contribute to the oppression of other gays and will continue to oppress as long as they maintain wealth and power. The N word is about COLOR prejudice-the ability to deny an entire race of people equal opportunities based on the color of their skin. It makes me sick when white immigrants can leap frog over a person of color based on their whiteness and then claim they made it in this country without any help! They all know that they will get that loan or job because of their skin color over blacks who gave been here for centuries!
Yes, some immigrants come here and work hard but the white ones don't have the added 'disadvantage' of skin color prejudice that prevents some people of color from even getting in the door...that younger Tsarnaev brother/bomber had a full scholarship having just come to this country that my straight A student nephews can't get having been in this country all their lives!
The racist gays that continuously post negative comments about people of color-particularly black people-are proof that they aren't so oppressed as they like to claim. If they were, they would at least try to empathize with the feelings of others . But let's be real- no one is really oppressing white men,even those who suck cock behind closed doors.
- [quote]Calling people 'faggot' is about what people do in bed,[R46]
Which apparently makes it OK to your race-obsessed idiot self.
- God, r53 you sound about 80 years old. NWA was over 20 years ago.
Sometimes I forget that Datalounge has an elderly white gay guy demographic, but posts like that DEFINITELY remind me.
No wonder you're all so racist. You're all old as fuck.
- So r70 thinks you must walk on eggshells when mentioning black people, but it's OK to trash old people?
r70, I'd say YOU are typical of the thinking around here - hypocritical, inconsistent and self-righteous.
- R46 & R64 are apparently both illiterate because they obviously have not read the civil suit complaint or Paula's deposition. Her use of the word is not the central issue of the civil suit. It is simply the one element that the media found provocative and controversial enough to boost their own ratings. As far as professional athletes they say and do many stupid things. They often don't lose their jobs because their jobs don't depend upon selling a family friendly docile image. Their endorsements however often times do. Therefore they may often continue to play the sport. People expect athletes to be dumb jocks. However they often loose endorsements. Tiger Woods is a good example. He lost endorsements because of his behavior off the field. The Food Network didn't pull her show because they care about black people. They pulled her show because the damage to Paula's image hurts their bottom line. They don't want to risk loosing advertisers. Paula Deen's brand is dependent upon a very family friendly motherly image. Her brand is not based upon the strength of her cooking skills. It is based upon her personality which translates into an image. Most anyone's mother or grandmother can cook the simple foods that she cooks. It is nothing new or brilliant or innovative. What anyone's mother or grandmother can't do is project for the cameras the way that Paula Deen does. She is all personality and image. Without that there is no business. There is nothing there to make money for the network. Therefore no R46 is not correct and R64 you clearly don't understand the business world. Your attempt to come here and make this about an overreaction to racism and an under reaction to homophobia has failed. Your logic, if I may call it that; is severely flawed. I would first recommend to you that you read the complaint.
- [quote]People expect athletes to be dumb jocks.
And you think the public expections for Paula Deen's intellect are higher?
No I don't. However the behavior deemed acceptable for a dumb jock athlete is very different the behavior deemed acceptable for a 60+ idiotic grandmother. Sports such as football are mean, violent and hypermasculine. They are not dependent upon selling a wholesome motherly/grandmotherly based image. Their beer advertisers are not worried about the players projection of a necessarily wholesome image. The ticket and merchandise sales are not dependent upon the players projection of a motherly/grandmotherly image. Basically, Paula can be and is dumb as dishwater. The public knows this and they enjoy it. However she cannot be mean or unwholesome.
- Great Post R68
- It is kind of ironic.
Paula Deen loses her contract because of the damage she has done to her brand. I think she was already on thin ice with the hole diabetes deal.
Bill Maher used the incident to reinforce his brand. I'm going to guess Maher has plenty of fans who have been biting their lips during this entire time. Thinking - "they can say it, why can't I"?
- According to The LA Times: Ratings for Paula Deen, who was booted off the Food Network last week after it was revealed that she has used racial epithets, had taken a big dip this year before the controversy errupted. According to Nielsen, the audience for "Paula's Favorite Dishes" had shrunk almost 25% in 2013 to 835,000 viewers from 1.1 million viewers in 2012. It was a similar story among the 25-54 demographic, which was her show's sweet spot. In that category, Dean's numbers fell 32% from 446,000 viewers last year to 304,000 this year. Though Deen is one of the network's most visible personalities, "Paula's Favorite Dishes" is far from Food Network's highest rated shows. "Food Network Star" averages close to 3 million viewers and "Rachel vs. Guy" averages 2.2 million viewers.
- I think the Tiger Wood analogy is a good one. Tiger Woods didn't lose all of those endorsements because he was fucking around on his wife. He lost them because it damaged his brand as this family man with a pretty wife and cute kids and his ability to sell products based on that image. Once you damage your brand and it reflects poorly on your ability to push product, advertisers kick you to the curb or at least put you on time out.
Paula will recover from this. Her recovery team is probably already in place. She will do an Oprah interview, throw some cash to some charities that benefit poor black people, and then she will slowly reemerge with a new image.
- I just saw a clip where she's a speaker at an NYT sponsored gathering and tells the story of how her great grandfather shot himself after his 30 slaves were freed. Then she calls to a young African American man who works for her, describes him as "black as a board," and clasps his hand, saying he's a son from another father.
I don't think this woman is a hater. I think she's an idiot with no filter, no self awareness and a profound ignorance of American history.
- There goes that fucking Douche Maher trying to grab attention. I've seen him in person and he looks like he was born from his mothers asshole.
- I like Bill Maher. He's wrong in this instance, Deen had to go. It's obvious why it bothers him and it's all about when he lost his show after 9/11. He's never going to let that go and I don't blame him.