Bill Maher revealed that he filmed a two-hour interview with Kanye West, but decided not to air it over fears of spreading the rapper’s “idea that Israel and the Jews are the worst people in the world.”
“He’s a very charming antisemite,” Maher added during a “TMZ Investigates” documentary that examined Kanye West, now known as Ye, and his public outbursts about the likes of Donald Trump, Jesus, and Adolf Hitler.
Maher noted that despite the 10-minute, divisive diatribes, Ye has been able to repeatedly bounce back. “The problem, I think, is that he appeals mostly — of course, he’s a rock star — to young people,” the “Club Random with Bill Maher” podcast host told TMZ during the documentary aired Monday.
“They don’t know much and they surely don’t know much about the Middle East or Jews,” Maher added of Ye’s young fans.
“So the combination of, you know, Kanye out there — I feel like he sort of like was helpful for spreading the fertilizer, and I do mean fertilizer, for this idea that Israel and the Jews are like the worst people in the world.”
Maher added that Ye is “not the only one in America who feels that way. It’s not like the Jews are universally loved except for Kanye West,” noting that having an episode with the 46-year-old “Stronger” singer was intended to be “a learning moment.”
TMZ founder Harvey Levin interrupted: “Hold on, Bill. You could say the same thing about Hitler. You know, a lot of people were thinking what he was thinking, but in Kanye’s case, the fact that he’s saying it out loud gives other people permission to say it too, right?”
“Yes, exactly,” Maher replied in an exchange earlier reported on by Mediaite. “That’s why I wouldn’t air that episode because I’m not going to contribute to this.”
It’s unclear when Maher filmed the podcast episode with Ye, or if it came before his December apology “to the Jewish community for any unintended outbursts caused by my words or actions,” Ye wrote in Hebrew in an Instagram story.
Though Ye’s bizarre statement — which drew mixed reviews from onlookers who were unsure if the rapper was genuine — did not mention a specific moment where he unleashed a slew of antisemitic remarks, 10 days prior he had done just that.
“It’s 60 million of us in America, 60 million Jews in the world,” West ranted in a video obtained by TMZ. “Who’s going to make the hospitals, though? He’s a Zionist, Trump. This is what I’ve been trying to tell you. Jesus Christ, Hitler, Ye, third party, sponsor that.”
In October 2022, Ye also got himself locked out of his then-Twitter account after posting: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.”
After the tweet, Adidas and Gap severed ties with Ye, who had also told Alex Jones during an “Infowars” interview shortly thereafter, “I like Hitler.”
“Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” Ye also said during his conversation with the alt-right radio show host.
Adidas — which sold a popular line of shoes created in collaboration with the rapper, called Yeezys — said at the time that it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech.”
The athletic apparel giant has since sold off part of its remaining Yeezy inventory, giving part of the profits to groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, run by social justice advocate Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd.
Gap, which sold its own Yeezy collection consisting of T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatpants, has also suffered losses over its failed partnership with the embattled rapper.
The company has since sued Ye for $2 million, alleging he made unapproved changes to a Los Angeles rental property the landlord is trying to collect on.
As a result of the squashed deals with Adidas and Gap, Ye lost his billionaire status, as a whopping $1.5 billion of his estimated $2 billion fortune was attributed to his relationship with the apparel companies.