Bill Maher Backs Harrison Butker in Speech Controversy: 'What's the Big Crime?'

Bill Maher delves into societal norms on his show.

by Nouman Rasool
Bill Maher Backs Harrison Butker in Speech Controversy: 'What's the Big Crime?'
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"Real Time" host Bill Maher has once again stirred the pot, this time coming to the defense of Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker following his recent commencement speech that sparked outrage among some political circles.

During a Friday night panel discussion, Maher questioned the backlash, struggling to find the fault in Butker's words, particularly his views on traditional family values expressed during his address at Benedictine College.

Butker, in his speech at the private Catholic institution, touched on themes of marriage and family, suggesting that while some graduates may pursue successful careers, many might prioritize family life — a sentiment that has drawn criticism from some on the political left.

Maher, however, sees this as a benign expression of personal values rather than a societal indictment, saying, "I don't see what the big crime is. He said, 'Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world. But I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.'

I really don't."

Choice Versus Norms

Expanding on this point, Maher critiqued the narrow scope of acceptable lifestyles as dictated by modern societal norms, suggesting that Butker's perspective offers a legitimate, albeit traditional, choice.

"And now can't that be a choice too?" Maher posited, highlighting a disconnect he perceives between contemporary progressive values and traditional lifestyles. Maher also touched on the notion that the left often projects a singular path to personal fulfillment, primarily through academic achievement in prestigious institutions, which he humorously termed "a-- h--e factories like Harvard." This, he argues, is a one-dimensional view that excludes other forms of personal success and fulfillment.

Adding a layer of irony to the debate, Maher pointed out the selective outrage over Butker's conservative views on family roles, contrasting it with the support among some young people for groups like Hamas, which enforces traditional roles under the rule of law.

"It's not just an opinion in Hamas, that you stay home and have the babies. They will enforce you [to do] that!" Maher exclaimed, highlighting a contradiction in the values advocated by some of Butker's critics.