HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher blasted Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Broadway smash “Hamilton,” for apologizing on Twitter over complaints on social media that a new project did not feature enough actors of color.
Miranda took to Twitter earlier this week to offer a mea culpa to address backlash that his new film adaptation of the musical “In the Heights” did not feature enough “Afro-Latino” actors.
“I started writing ‘In the Heights’ because I didn’t feel seen. And over the past 20 years all I wanted was for us — ALL of us — to feel seen,” Miranda said as he began his statement.
“I’m seeing the discussion around Afro-Latino representation in our film this weekend and it is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro-Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly among the leading roles,” Miranda continued.
“I can hear the hurt and frustration over colorism, of feeling still unseen in the feedback,” he noted further. “I hear that without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the work feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy.
“In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I’m truly sorry. I’m learning from the feedback, I thank you for raising it, and I’m listening. I promise to do better in my future projects,” the producer concluded.
The offering was a bridge too far for the HBO host.
“Stop the apologizing,” Maher said to his panel and the audience. “You’re the guy who made the Founding Fathers Black and Hispanic!”
“The committee that makes note of everyone’s skin tone took note of it,” Maher continued. “I don’t think that you have to apologize to Twitter! For f**k’s sake. This is why people hate Democrats. It’s cringy.”
CNN contributor Paul Begala, a former White House counselor to then-President Bill Clinton, said that the Twitter mob “can’t seem to distinguish between an oversight and an outrage” as he referenced disparities between blacks and whites in terms of healthcare and income.
“Those are outrages and liberals ought to be focused on that, not the casting choices of, I think, a heroic guy who’s making a film about a minority community,” Begala continued.
“Right,” Maher responded.
Jane Coaston, a New York Times journalist, observed that “nothing will have changed” after the outrage mob secures an apology from Miranda, and “we will do this all again forever.”
“We’ve been mad about things forever because being mad — it’s an irreplaceable resource. We will never stop being mad about things,” Coaston added. “But I think that it’s time to recognize like sometimes when people are mad on the internet, you need to identify who is mad, do they vote, do they have power, do they have the power to vote on things that could change these real lived experiences of communities of color. And if they don’t, you’re just kind of like ‘meh.’”
The HBO host acknowledged that, true, “people used to get mad,” but the difference with social media is that “people didn’t use to grovel and apologize like this.”
“Obviously, he felt it was important enough for him to make this apology,” Maher explained. “Do I think he really thinks he needs to apologize? I don’t. He just wants to avoid the news cycle. I don’t blame him, you know. I understand this, but at some point, people are going to have to stand up to these bullies because that’s what it is! It’s bullying. It’s ‘I could make you crawl like a dog and I enjoy it.’
“I mean, he’s a Latino making a Latino movie with a Latino cast — not good enough!” Maher continued. “Nothing is ever good enough for these people! They’re like children. We don’t raise our children right and it’s reflected in the media. No one ever tells their children, ‘Shut the f**k up, sit down, listen to your elders, stop b**ching.’”
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