Bill Maher, Chelsea Handler, Culture, Real Time with Bill Maher, Television, THR Online, USA

Bill Maher Defends Al Franken Against Roy Moore Comparisons: “It’s Not the Same Thing”

“I know the difference between someone who behaved like a high schooler and someone who targeted high schoolers,” the ‘Real Time’ host said on Friday’s season finale, which welcomed Chelsea Handler as a guest.

Real Time host Bill Maher and guest Chelsea Handler dissected the allegations leveled against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who have both been accused of sexual misconduct, on Friday’s season finale of the HBO show.

On Thursday, TV host and sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden came forward and claimed Franken kissed and groped her without her consent in 2006. News of the incident, which Franken has since acknowledged and apologized for, came just days after Moore was accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women, who allege he pursued them when they were minors.

Defending Franken’s “one incident” against the numerous claims made by Moore’s nine accusers, Maher made a point to clearly differentiate the allegations facing the two politicians.

“He did a bad thing, and the condemnation has been universal, which he deserves,” the host said of Franken, before adding, “What he doesn’t deserve is to be lumped in with Roy Moore or Kevin Spacey or Harvey Weinstein or Donald Trump.”

Maher called for another #MeToo movement focused on the ability to “tell two unlike things apart.”

“I know the difference between a man who once acted like a dick and a man who is a dick. Me too,” he said. Taking direct aim at Moore, he continued, “I know the difference between someone who behaved like a high schooler and someone who targeted high schoolers. Me too.”

Handler echoed Maher’s sentiments, emphasizing the need to make a distinction between men who take “accountability and responsibility for an act,” and those who accuse their accusers and threaten to sue.

Thought she admitted Franken “did wrong,” Handler noted, “He’s not a predator, anyone who knows him knows that’s not true.”

Maher said of the widespread public criticism of Franken, “He’s not the zodiac killer. It’s not the same thing.”

Handler credited the recent flood of women coming forward with allegations of harassment and assault to the aftermath of President Trump’s election victory.

Referencing the infamous Access Hollywood tape that didn’t put a dent in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, she said that many women are belatedly reacting to their decision to vote for Trump, despite being aware of his inappropriate behavior toward women.

“I think women are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Handler said. “They’re like ‘Oh my God, look what we did.'”

Real Time With Bill Maher returns Jan. 19.

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