Bill Maher, Rob Reiner defend Jeffrey Lord after CNN firing
Jeffrey Lord, the CNN commentator who was fired in August over a reference to a Nazi salute on social media, found himself among allies when he appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night. Both Maher and panelist Rob Reiner came to Lord’s defense, with Maher attacking the “insane purity police nonsense.”
The controversy over Lord stemmed from an article he wrote in which he slammed the organization Media Matters for spreading “fascist propaganda.” He then wrote another story with the name of Media Matters president Angelo Carusone misspelled in the headline.
“Your headline has a mistake in it,” Carusone responded to him on Twitter. “Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously.” Lord replied, “Sieg Heil!” the Nazi phrase he used his initial article. Lord was soon fired from CNN, stating “Nazi salutes are indefensible.”
“This has to stop, this insane purity police nonsense that you have to go away because you made a little joke,” Maher said on his show Friday.
During the panel discussion about Russia meddling in the U.S. election, Reiner joked of Lord’s pivot to Hillary Clinton and China, “He’s already spinning himself into the ground. There’s gonna be a hole where Jeffrey was in a minute.” But the filmmaker later said, “I think what they [CNN] did to Jeff was wrong. No, no, seriously. To throw him off. He made a joke. I mean, it was clearly a joke. … Listen, I’m not on his side in terms of the policies, but, I mean, that was a bad deal.”
Maher had previously sided with Lord while appearing on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS shortly after his ousting.
“It’s worse every year,” he had said regarding political correctness. “The things that they go after people for now. Your colleague — I don’t agree with him — Jeffrey Lord, CNN got rid of him because he said ‘Sieg Heil’ on a tweet. It was a joke. This has got to stop, this idea that people have to go away if they’ve offended me even for one moment. How about just move on, turn the page, go to the next thing in your life?”
Speaking with EW after CNN announced its decision, Lord said, “I have absolutely zero regrets for mocking people who use Nazi tactics and fascists tactics to silence people in the media. None.”