Last night on HBO‘s Real Time with Bill Maher, the host spent the New Rule segment of his show criticizing the country hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics and those who have expressed support for it.
Maher‘s first target was freestyle skier Eileen Gu, an American-born skier who chose to represent China in the Beijing games. Gu hasn’t said whether she gave up her American citizenship to do so, but plans to return to Stanford University after the games and has thus far made millions of dollars in product endorsements in China.
“She chose to represent a totalitarian police state over America,” Maher said, referring to it as an “authoritarian surveillance state.”
The host did acknowledge that the United States has its own problems, but noted that the US is “a democracy based on freedom” adding the quip “at least for the next three years.”
China has “jailed an entire ethnic minority,” he said, declaring that it was cynical for us to overlook China’s sins in its treatment of Hong Kong freedom and its desire for a Taiwan take-back.
Maher then turned his attention to a few American celebrities who have bowed to China in recent years. He recalled the outrage when NBA general manager Daryl Morey said he stood with the people of Hong Kong. Instead of supporting Morey, the NBC issued an uncomfortable statement of regret and LeBron James called for Morey’s reeducation. Maher believes James was likely motivated by profit, thinking to himself, “I got some shoes to sell.”
Kowtow is a Chinese word, but America has gotten quite good at it, Maher said. China has allowed the United States access to its vast markets under the condition that it turns a blind eye to the country’s problems. He noted how Google made concessions to its “do no evil” motto to permit China to dictate terms on its operation in that country. “Okay, maybe a little evil.”
John Cena was perhaps Maher’s biggest sore spot. “John learned he needed some reeducation, like the Uighurs,” Maher said. The movie star had publicly referred to Taiwan as a country, which is an unforgiveable sin in China’s eyes, which feels it is a renegade province. Cena subsequently issued a groveling video, apologizing, which Maher played for his audience. “And I thought steroids shrunk your balls,” Maher said.
Lastly, Maher pointed out how the Taiwanese flag was removed from Tom Cruise’s jacket in the Top Gun: Maverick movie promo. “He (Cruise) used to be a maverick – now he does what China says,” Maher said.
Maher pondered why it is racist to question Chinese actions and motives. “The fear of being accused of racism is giving a pass to China,” he insisted.
“We have to find out where we got this rule we can’t criticize China,” Maher concluded. “I suspect we got it from China. Because, after all, it’s where we get everything else.”
You can check out Maher’s full New Rule segment above and watch new episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher on Fridays at 10:00 p.m. ET.
Michael is a music and television junkie keen on most things that are not a complete and total bore. You can follow him on Twitter — @Tweetskoor
Stream Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO Max