Bill Maher came under fire for remarks he made about Islam during his show "Real Time." His comments resulted in a petition circulated by Berkeley students demanding he be removed as commencement speaker for the December graduation ceremony. The petition accused Maher of being a "racist and bigoted."
The petition reads:
“Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for. In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment. Bill Maher’s public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities.”
The comedian addressed the controversy on his Friday show, pointing out Berkeley's history on free speech saying “I guess they don’t teach irony in college anymore.” He also addressed the charge that he was racist, saying “Right, because Islam is a race.”
Maher closed his remarks by saying:
“Here’s my final plea to you liberal — in the truest sense of the word — college students, not just at Berkeley but all over the country. Please. Weigh in on this. My reputation isn’t on the line…yours is.”