Bill Maher calls out critics of Lin-Manuel Miranda amid In the Heights controversy: ‘Stand up to those bullies’

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Bill Maher Lin-Manuel Miranda (Shutterstock)
Bill Maher Lin-Manuel Miranda (Shutterstock)

Bill Maher has weighed in on the controversy over the lack of Afro-Latinx representation in lead roles in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new film In the Heights.

On 10 June, a viral interview with The Root’s host and producer Felice León saw her address the film’s director Jon M Chu over the fact that most of the actors in his film are light-skinned or white-passing, despite the movie being set in Washington Heights, where Afro-Latinxs make up a sizable portion of residents.

The interview sparked a backlash, with many accusing the film of colourism, and Miranda – who wrote the music and lyrics for the original musical, as well as producing and starring in the film – later apologised for “falling short”.

Real Time host and comedian Maher has now said on his show that Miranda should “stop the apologising”.

He added: “You’re the guy who made the founding fathers Black and Hispanic! I don’t think you have to apologise to Twitter.”

The host was referring to Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton, which cast non-white actors as America’s founding fathers and other historical figures.

Maher said he doesn’t think Miranda actually thinks he should apologise, and that he is “just avoiding the news cycle”.

He said of Miranda’s critics: “This is why people hate Democrats; It’s cringey… I mean he’s a Latino making a Latino movie with a Latino cast. Not good enough. 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*** up. Sit down. Listen to your elders. Stop b****ing.’”

Maher concluded with: “People are going to have to stand up to these bullies, because that’s what it is, bullying. It’s, ‘I can make you crawl like a dog and I enjoy it.’”

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