Promoting his newest role in the David Fincher thriller, Gone Girl, Affleck appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher to speak of his part in the movie. What viewers were not expecting, however, was a heated debate between the panelists, with host Maher and guest Sam Harris sharing some strong anti-Islamic sentiments to which Affleck responded negatively.
“We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people… It’s intellectually ridiculous,” told neuroscientist and author Sam Harris, who later went on to describe Islam as a “mother lode of bad ideas,” particularly in regard to their treatment of women.
With Maher agreeing, Affleck appeared distressed at the sentiments being shared by the two them, interrupting the pair asking if they are someone who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam. Displeased with their response, Affleck went on a rant of his own:
“How about the more than a billion people who are not fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day and don’t do any of the things that ‘all Muslims do’? You’re stereotyping. You’re taking a few bad things and you’re painting the whole religion with that same brush,” he said.
The video, which has now been removed from YouTube, gathered almost 3 million views over the weekend. Trending on Twitter, Affleck gained much support online after combatting the pair’s controversial and insensitive insights.
Bill Maher offered Muslims an Eid gift last night by demonizing Muslims but Thankfully Ben Affleck was on panel: http://t.co/Oe3sAgSlpR
— Dean Obeidallah (@Deanofcomedy) October 4, 2014
This is not the first time Maher or Harris have been accused of Islamophobia, with Maher once stating in 2012: “At least half of all Muslims think it is ok to kill someone after insulting The Prophet.”