Maher grilled the Pulitzer Prize winner on the movement.
Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Matt Lauer are some of the proverbial “big fish” to fry with #MeToo, Bill Maher said to Ronan Farrow during an interview on HBO’s Real Time Friday night. But he then asked the journalist and War on Peace author about men like former Senator Al Franken and Master of None‘s Aziz Ansari.
“Do you think there’s an excess in the movement that is causing a backlash, that’s hurting it?” he queried.
“I think that our culture has actually been pretty good on the whole about self-regulating,” Farrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Weinstein scandal, argued. “You mentioned Aziz Ansari. That blog about Aziz Ansari came out, it was clearly a single-source narrative about a date gone wrong and there was a debate about how far gone wrong it was, but I don’t think anyone saw that and said, ‘He’s Harvey Weinstein. This is a multiple rapist.’ I think people have separated these things clearly.”
Ansari was the subject of a Babe.net article recounting a woman’s experience on a date she had with the actor. Referred to under an anonymous pseudonym, the 23-year-old Brooklyn-based photographer said she felt pressured into performing several sexual acts even though she said she was “physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested.” She further stated she told Ansari she didn’t want to feel forced into sex, after which he said he understood but allegedly kept trying to kiss her and undo her pants.
Ansari released a statement following the allegations, recounting his version of events and reiterating his support for the #MeToo movement.
Maher responded to Farrow’s point, “But he’s not around anymore.”
“Is that true of Aziz Ansari? … I guess we’d have to ask him how he’s doing these days,” Farrow said.
Adam Scott, Ansari’s former costar on Parks and Recreation, said recently during an interview, “I’ll say this: Aziz is doing great. He’s a great, lovely guy.”
“I think that that reporting was regarded exactly as it should’ve been,” Farrow continued. “People saw it for what it was, there was a debate about it, there was a lot of criticism of it.”
He clarified he didn’t do any reporting on the Franken situation. But when pressed to share an opinion by Maher on the matter, Farrow said, “I do think that it is correct to distinguish between these kinds of violations and these kinds of behaviors. But I would also make a point: this whole conversation, Bill, was under wraps for decades. There’s so much pent-up anger and heartbreak and lack of accountability that I do think it is understandable it is coming out in torrents right now.”
Watch their full interview in the video above.