Bill Maher Responds to Outrage Over His Stan Lee Comments

HBO late night host and comedian Bill Maher has clarified his previous statement about Stan Lee following the comic book legend’s death.

During an interview on Larry King Now, Maher said he had only just heard about the uproar over his statement, noting that he "doesn't follow every stupid thing people lose their $#!+ about" on social media.

Maher went on to clarify that his comments were not meant as a personal attack against Lee, but then doubled down on those comments as a criticism of the artistic medium Lee helped revolutionize and the culture that embraces it.

"But talk about making my point for me: Yeah, I don't know very much about Stan Lee and it certainly wasn't a swipe at Stan Lee. Yeah, fine. I am agnostic on Stan Lee,” Maher said. “I don't read comic books. I didn't even read them when I was a child. What I was saying is, a culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb f**king culture. And for people to get mad at that just proves my point."

Maher’s initial comments seemed dismissive of Lee’s legacy and condescending toward adults who still enjoy the comic book format.

"The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess," Maher wrote in a blog post on the website for his show, Real Time. "Now, I have nothing against comic books — I read them now and then when I was a kid and I was all out of Hardy Boys. But the assumption everyone had back then, both the adults and the kids, was that comics were for kids, and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy books without the pictures."

Lee’s team at POW! Entertainment responded to Maher with a statement of its own:

"Mr. Maher: Comic books, like all literature, are storytelling devices. When written well by great creators such as Stan Lee, they make us feel, make us think and teach us lessons that hopefully make us better human beings. One lesson Stan taught so many of us was tolerance and respect, and thanks to that message, we are grateful that we can say you have a right to your opinion that comics are childish and unsophisticated. Many said the same about Dickens, Steinbeck, Melville and even Shakespeare.

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But to say that Stan merely inspired people to 'watch a movie' is in our opinion frankly disgusting. Countless people can attest to how Stan inspired them to read, taught them that the world is not made up of absolutes, that heroes can have flaws and even villains can show humanity within their souls. He gave us the X-Men, Black Panther, Spider-Man and many other heroes and stories that offered hope to those who felt different and bullied while inspiring countless to be creative and dream of great things to come."

What do you think of Maher’s latest statement? Let us know in the comments!