After a quick rehash of events, the discussion quickly focuses on Maher and guest Bob Hebbert. Maher thinks that the Food Network overreacted by getting out of the Paula Deen business. "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?" he asked. Hebbert, who is black and was sitting right next to Maher, immediately said no.
But Maher stood his ground, and argued that the move to fire Deen was another instance of the outrage economy that dominates modern discourse claiming a new victim. "I also think that people shouldn't have to lose their shows and go away when they do something bad," he said. Deen clearly did something reprehensible, that isn't up for debate, Maher says. But he also thinks firing her maybe wasn't the right thing to do. "It's just a word, it's a wrong word, she's wrong to use it. But do we always have to make people go away?" Hebbert argued that, yeah, you do have to go away if you're going to throw "the N-word" around. "It's a free country, she has the right to say that word. It's not illegal to say that word. But her boss said, 'you've gotta go if you're gonna use that word.'"