Bill Maher claims Louis CK should be ‘un-cancelled’ after sexual misconduct allegations

In a conversation on cancel culture on his podcast with comedian Bill Burr, Maher said other people who had done worse had ‘gotten less’ than Louis CK

Shahana Yasmin
Tuesday 14 May 2024 10:49 BST
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James Corden calls out Bill Maher over fat-shaming comments

Bill Maher and Bill Burr have slammed disgraced comedian Louis CK’s exile over his sexual misconduct allegations – and have called for his return to Hollywood.

The pair railed against cancel culture on the Club Random podcast, saying that it may have started with good intentions but the impact of the #MeToo movement has resulted in it losing its way and getting “weird” with stand-up and comedy being so heavily scrutinised.

The duo then claimed that CK has been “punished” sufficiently and should now get his career back on track, adding that his behaviour was “not the end of the world”.

“I mean, don’t get me started on that,” Maher said of CK working outside the Hollywood studio system.

Louis CK was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 and he admitted masturbating in front of colleagues. While there was some fallout from the misconduct, with the comedian being dropped from multiple projects, he has since returned to touring and performing.

“Isn’t it time everyone just went: ‘OK, It wasn’t a cool thing to do, but it’s been long enough and welcome back.’ Enough! I mean for Christ’s sake, it’s not the end of the world,” Maher said on the podcast.

“People have done so much worse things and gotten less. There’s no rhyme or reason to the #MeToo-type punishments.”

“They took $50 million, I think they punished him,” Burr responded.

Burr was referring to CK’s statement where he said he had gone through “hell and back” after the accusations, and had lost around $50m in income.

Bill Burr | Club Random with Bill Maher

Burr then went on to describe how he felt about cancel culture, saying: “Well, it’s like most things. It started off with something everyone could agree on, and then quickly it just spun out of control.”

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“I remember whenever that cancel culture got to the point of where it was, ‘I don’t like some of the topics in your stand-up act,’ yeah? That’s when it got weird. But that’s all over. It’s all over.”

“Yeah, no one cares anymore,” Burr continued.

“Well, if you’re not doing anything. If it’s just like, ‘You did this joke about, you know, this group of people, or that group of people, and I’ve decided…’ I don’t know. I feel like I’m going back two years in my life. I don’t even think about it anymore.”

Maher disagreed, saying either of them could get “cancelled in the next two minutes.”

In a separate podcast episode in April, Maher referred to actors who refuse to work with Woody Allen as a “bunch of p***ies.”

The #MeToo movement–coined by activist Tarana Burke in 2006–gained momentum in 2017 after a story broke on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual misconduct. It was meant to encourage survivors of sexual assault to talk about their experiences and to also explain how pervasive rape culture had become.

The movement went on to spark a reckoning in society as millions of women across the world spoke up on the sexual violence they’d encountered in their personal and professional lives. Several prominent names in Hollywood, including Louis CK, and Kevin Spacey, Steven Segal, and Dustin Hoffman were called out and went on to foster an examination of the treatment of women in social and professional spaces.

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