Bill Maher scrapped a filmed two-hour interview with Kanye West due to the rapper’s antisemitic outbursts against Jewish people.
The Real Time with Bill Maher host revealed this week that he sat down with the disgraced musician for his Club Random podcast, but has since decided not to release their conversation.
“I thought it was going to be a learning moment.” Maher said on an episode of TMZ Investigates, about West, titled “Unhinged but Unstoppable.”
“We were here for two hours. By the way, we had an amazing, fun time,” he continued. “He’s a very charming antisemite. And by the way, he’s not the only one in America who feels that way. It’s not like the Jews are universally loved except for Kanye West.”
Earlier on, Maher suggested that West’s influence on pop culture, combined with his predominantly young fanbase, helped to spread his harmful rhetoric.
“The problem, I think, is that he appeals mostly – of course he’s a rock star – to young people. They don’t know much and they surely don’t know much about the Middle East or Jews,” the late-night host said.
“So the combination of Kanye out there — I feel like he was helpful for spreading the fertilizer, and I do mean fertilizer, for this idea that Israel and the Jews are the worst people in the world.”
West has become one of the most prominent antisemites in recent years, infamously writing that he wanted to go “death con 3 on Jewish people” on X/Twitter in October 2022.
He then appeared on right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s show, where he claimed that he “liked Hitler” and said people should “stop dissing the Nazis”.
After Maher’s theory about West, TMZ founder Harvey Levin suggested to Maher on TMZ Investigates that “you could say the same thing about Hitler” in that he emboldened other people to express their own antisemitic views.
“A lot of people were thinking what he was thinking, but in Kanye’s case, the fact that he’s saying it out loud gives other people permission to say it too, right?” Levin asked.
“Yes, exactly,” Maher responded. “That’s why I wouldn’t air that episode, because I’m not going to contribute to this.”
The Independent has contacted West’s representative for comment.
In December 2023, West posted an apology to the Jewish community written in Hebrew, but has continued to share offensive views or content.
“It was not my intention to offend or disrespect and I deeply regret any pain I may have caused,“ he said. ”Your forgiveness is important to me, and I am committed to making amends and promoting unity.“
Barely a month prior to this, he had referred to the controversies on “Vultures”, the title track from his album with Ty Dolla $ign: “How I’m antisemitic? I just f***ed a Jewish bitch.”
In response to his antisemitic outbursts in 2022, West lost his fashion collaborations with Adidas, Gap and Balenciaga, and was dropped by his agency, CAA.
Vultures, which was originally intended for release last year, is now scheduled to come out on 9 February. During an album release party in December, West was spotted wearing a KKK-style hood while on stage.