On last night’s episode of HBO‘s Real Time with Bill Maher, the late night host ridiculed the Met Gala in New York for its maskless celebrity photo ops while workers were forced to wear masks due to COVID-19 protocols in what appeared to come off—at least to Maher—as a liberal double standard.
During the evening’s panel discussion on the show, Maher displayed on the screen a number of photos from the red carpet event showing guests without masks being attended to by staffers who were wearing masks. This disconnect, says Maher, is a perfect example of the kinds of scenarios that are becoming commonplace in 2021 as people navigate laxer restrictions in an attempt to return to some kind of normalcy.
“I noticed something” in photos from the event, said Maher, “that I’ve seen, having been to a few parties since the pandemic began, and that is, the people going to the parties don’t wear masks. But the servers wear masks. There’s something about this that’s not liberal to me. These are the liberal swells of the world. But if we’re all vaccinated, do the germs know who the good people are?! It seems a little wrong.”
Panelist Dan Savage agreed with the sentiment stating that it seemed “a little security-theater-y” but that “you’re not going to get any pushback from me.” The writer and podcast host did, however, attempt to play “devil’s advocate” by pointing out that some mask wearing at events is better than none to limit the spread of the virus.
“But, ‘let’s just make the help wear the mask’?” replied Maher. “That’s the liberal approach?”
Savage again pointed to the data which suggests that masks are effective at reducing viral transmission, to which Maher responded, “Yes – that’s why surgeons wear them.”
Another panelist Gillian Tett, an author and Financial Times journalist, applied her knowledge of anthropology. “I care a lot about signals and the signals they send,” she said. “Having pictures of celebrities without masks next to servers who are wearing masks doesn’t send the right signal about community responsibility.”
Savage longed for “a place where people don’t end up not wearing them on airplanes and assaulting flight attendants.”
Maher then took aim at Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who sported a controversial white gown at the event decorated with red letters spelling out the slogan “Tax the rich.” Maher took issue with the slogan, referencing that New York City’s richest 65,000 residents paid 51% of all city taxes collected last year. “They pay taxes,” he said. “It’s not like we don’t tax the rich at all.”
Savage and Tett aggressively disputed Maher’s stance, citing the recent rise in income inequality across the country.
Michael is a music and television junkie keen on most things that are not a complete and total bore. You can follow him on Twitter — @Tweetskoor