Bill Maher claims nobody has ever faced backlash for being ‘too woke’ – he couldn’t be more wrong

Bill Maher, pictured.

Political pundit and occasional comedian Bill Maher seems to think that nobody has ever had to cope with a backlash for saying something “woke.”

He shared a post on social media showing a clip of his talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher, in which he comments on statements made by businesswoman, Katherine Maher (no relation).

Katherine, the chief executive of National Public Radio, has been the central figure in a conservative backlash against the station since she took over last month.

Right-wing pundits have accused her of a bias towards Democrats and progressive ideas, which she has said is “a distraction, relative to the transformation our organisation needs to undergo in order to best serve our mandate”.

In the clip, Maher called her a “Portlandia [the American comedy sketch show] character” and mocked her beliefs.

“She says things like: ‘I mean sure looting is counterproductive, but it’s founded on treating people’s ancestors as private property’,” Maher claimed. “Yeah, come on man… [it was] a long time ago.

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“She says as someone with ‘cis white mobility privilege’… it’s the kind of white woman who says, you know, she’s Beyoncé’s spirit animal.”

Sharing the post on X/Twitter, Maher also wrote: “Nobody ever gets cancelled for saying anything too woke.”

‘Woke’ groups and people abused for their beliefs

His statement, however, seems to ignore a large number of examples where individuals, who have shared progressive or so-called woke ideas, have been hit with a wave of abuse from right-wing groups.

One of the most notorious of the past few years was the one against Bud Light and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch, after they revealed a sponsorship advert with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Mulvaney, known for her Days of Girlhood social media series, became the target of an international right-wing campaign of hate after she shared a clip on Instagram in April 2023.

The abuse became so acute – including protestors seen shooting cans of the beer and others vandalising shops – that she briefly felt the need to leave the US for her own safety.

Sales for the company plummeted as the controversy continued, prompting Bud Light to drop Mulvaney, which provoked a strong response from her.

Other LGBTQ+ groups who have shared “woke” messages or shown solidarity to marginalised people have also been the victims of threats.

Drag queens, pro-LGBTQ+ politicians, hospitals and several schools are just some of the people and places who have received hoax bomb threats after speaking in favour of LGBTQ+ rights.

The gym chain, Planet Fitness, received more than 17 bomb threats in one month, after reiterating is trans-inclusive policy after a person filmed a transgender gym-goer in the women’s toilets.