Bill Maher: 'I Don't Like Alex Jones But Alex Jones Gets to Speak'

Bill Maher defended right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during his talk show on Friday night, criticizing social media platforms for blocking Jones' right to free speech.

"I don't like Alex Jones, but Alex Jones gets to speak. Everybody gets to speak," Maher said during his HBO show on Friday night.

Maher made it clear that Jones is not his friend and noted that the conservative talk show host has told "crazy lies" about him, but continued to defend Jones and slam liberals for their hypocritical views of free speech.

"If you're a liberal, you're supposed to be for free speech," Maher said. "That's free speech for the speech you hate. That's what free speech means. We're losing the thread of the concepts that are important to this country."

Charlie Sykes, a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard, interjected, saying that while Jones has the right to free speech he "doesn't necessarily get to speak on Facebook or Twitter." Sykes then went on to address some of Jones' most controversial statements, including his comments that the Sandy Hook school massacre was fake.

"If he engages in vile slander and fabrication about children who are murdered at Sandy Hook and he harasses the parents of children who were murdered at Sandy Hook. You know what, Facebook, Twitter don't have an obligation to provide him a platform because they're private companies," Sykes said.

"We all agree with that," Maher said. "But I'm just saying as a concept we have to understand that the way to get rid of hateful things is to 'sunlight the best' disinfect it."

He then used the example of the recent "Unite the Right 2" rally, where many fewer alt-right supporters showed up after the criticism they had faced after last year's rally in Charlottesville.

"Not because we outlawed it but becasue we let it happen the first time," he said. "And these mental midgets found out 'oh its not so great when you do this in public' because then you go back to the office and people don't like you so much," Maher joked.

Maher's comments come as Jones has been suspended from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for spreading content that violates the companies codes of conduct. Twitter, for example, recently blocked Jones for a week for tweeting a link to a video calling for his supporters to get their "battle rifles" ready against the media, violating Twitter's rules against inciting violence.

President Donald Trump has also been weighing in heavily on the matter of free speech on social media platforms, repeatedly arguing that these sites are discriminating against conservative voices. Though sites like Twitter have denied allegations that they are targeting Republican or right-wing accounts.

Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.......

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018