New York Times Op-Ed writer and editor Bari Weiss appeared on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" Friday. 

In January, she wrote an opinion piece defending Aziz Ansari and criticizing aspects of the #MeToo movement. In it, Weiss argued that the Babe interview describing a young woman's bad date with Ansari shouldn't belong in the #MeToo conversation. Weiss wrote:

"There is a useful term for what this woman experienced on her night with Mr. Ansari. It’s called “bad sex.” It sucks.(...) The insidious attempt by some women to criminalize awkward, gross and entitled sex takes women back to the days of smelling salts and fainting couches. That’s somewhere I, for one, don’t want to go."

Weiss took flak for her Op-Ed from left-leaning publications like Alternet and HuffPost. The Intercept even pulled out the other R-words, dismissing Weiss as "reactionary" and her writing as "reductive."

Two weeks ago, Weiss rattled the political left again, calling out liberal commentators as sleazily dwelling on (Michael Wolff-instigatedgossip alleging an affair between President Trump and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

What did Weiss say during her "Real Time" appearance?


Weiss' conversation with Maher centered largely around the #MeToo movement and what Weiss perceived as the hard left's intolerance for viewpoint diversity.

  • Weiss' throat clear on #MeToo: "Obviously the #MeToo movement is long overdue as we've seen today with Rob Porter and everyone else. But there's a real debate happening between the hard left and liberals."

  • The hard left's consistency problem: "The hard left is basically saying it's okay if a few innocent men go down with the ship if that's what it takes to bring down the patriarchy. They hate zero tolerance on the right when it comes to drug policy but they love zero tolerance when it comes to sexual misconduct."

  • Why people are silencing themselves on the #MeToo issue: "There's sort of trial by Twitter. Not only for the people who are accused ..."

  • Weiss on toeing the party line: "If you step out of line even slightly with the hard left feminist orthodoxy all of a sudden, like me, you're a traitor to your gender. You're an anti-feminist. You're condoning 'rape culture.'"  

  • Weiss on modern romance: "Whatever happened to intimacy and love and romance?"

  • On courtship: "Courtship! That's become a dirty word. But it shouldn't be."

Let's look at what people were saying about Weiss' appearance.


There were those Twitter users critical of Weiss' appearance on 'Real Time'.

One Twitter user used a colorful analogy to sum up Maher and Weiss' exchange.

Another commentator was more interested in Weiss' distinction between "the far left and liberals."

Feminist author Jessica Valenti's tweet reaction generated a long comment thread ...

... And sparked an exchange between American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers and actress Kylie Sparks.

Thus, the conversation turned to New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush, who was suspended from the Times in December after being accused of sexual harassment.

Sommers and Sparks' debate reached an impasse when director Woody Allen and New York Times journalist Brett Stephens became topics of conversation.

Here's how the exchange ended:

Let's bring it back to Weiss.


The highlight of the Weiss interview occurred when she brought up a statistic about millennial men's views on what constitutes sexual harassment.

"Twenty-five percent of millennial-age men think that asking someone for a drink constitutes sexual harassment," Weiss said.

Source: GIF/Real Time

The logical extension of the argument sparked by the statistic leads to a world where an "unsolicited kiss is rape." And at that point, she said, "We've lost. It's over. That's game over. Then words don't mean anything."

Whether you agree with Weiss or not, this seems like a good distillation of one of the main tensions defining discussion of the #MeToo movement.