HBO star Bill Maher's appearance on "The View" Tuesday caught him in a crossfire with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who confronted Maher about one of his jokes she felt was inappropriate. The confrontation launched the two into an awkward five-minute exchange.
The show started off with a short discussion of the Penn State sex abuse scandal. Maher said, "Any institution where there's no women around, like the church or football, you need women as a moderating influence. When men are just among men, they do stupid things. That's just the truth."
"The View" audience applauded Maher's comment as Hasselbeck quickly brought up a joke Maher told about her and CBS correspondent Lara Logan nearly a year ago, questioning whether the HBO host's moral code when it comes to commenting on women's issues.
On the Feb. 4 episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher," as the Egyptian protests in Tahrir Square were unfolding, Maher made the following joke about Logan and Hasselbeck: "New rule: now that Hosni Mubarak has released Lara Logan, he must put her intrepid hotness on a plane immediately. In exchange, we will send Elisabeth Hasselbeck." Over a week later, on Feb. 15, the public would learn that Logan had suffered a brutal sexual assault on Feb. 11 in Tahrir Square. When Maher told the joke, he could not have known that Logan had been raped.
Despite that timeline, Hasselbeck started Tuesday's segment of "The View" by reading the joke back to Maher, and asking if he still stood behind it. "Would you say that again, if you're so supportive of women?"
"If I had a crystal ball and knew I was coming here and had to spend my whole segment talking about it, no I wouldn't," he replied.
Later Tuesday evening, Maher appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman" and said his appearance on "The View" made him feel "like a teenaged boy at Penn State."
Maher went on to tell Letterman that he really liked Hasselbeck a lot and this was all an act in which the two play that "they don't like each other on TV."
Maher is somewhat known for his political and religious satire. He is a member of Project Reason, a foundation that promotes scientific knowledge and secular values within society. He is also the former host of "Politically Incorrect" on Comedy Central.