Bill Maher calls coronavirus lockdown a 'reckless experiment' that fomented protests

Randall Roberts
Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher."  (HBO)

Looking for a hot take? Bill Maher arrived to offer his perspective during Friday’s installment of his “Real Time” show on HBO.

During a roundtable discussion with Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee, and Georgetown School of Law professor and writer Rosa Brooks, Maher called the stay-at-home and forced-closure orders prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic a “reckless experiment” that fomented the current protests overtaking America after George Floyd's death while in police custody. “People don’t have much to do now. There was a lockdown. They’ve been cooped up," he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has warned of "needless suffering and death" if restrictions are eased too soon.

Steele said that the people gathering by the thousands were "protesting... the murder of this man and the impact that it's had on our civil society" and noted that "they're wearing their masks."

“Do you agree with me — probably not — that this has a lot to do with the unrest in the streets?" Maher asked during the show. "A quarter of the country that was working in February is not working now. You have no jobs. There’s no economy to come back to. Why not be in the streets?”

During the broadcast, Maher interviewed the Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, whose emotionally charged speech during the first chaotic nights of protest went viral. One half of rap duo Run the Jewels, the artist and Maher spoke at length about their advocacy of the 2nd Amendment, as well as their affection for cannabis. (Both acknowledged being stoned during the conversation.)

"The kids that were outraged and in the streets certainly have every reason to be outraged and in the streets," said Killer Mike. Going a step further, he continued. "I appreciate the protests. I appreciate destroying property when it's followed the next day by real organizing."