Talk show host and satirist Bill Maher has stirred up controversy on his TV show, warning about the power of what he called a “gay mafia” group.
His comments were aired on the online portion of Real Time, as a panel discussed the resignation of Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich after revelations that he supported a ban on gay marriage.
On the HBO show, Maher said: “I think there is a gay mafia. I think if you cross them you get whacked.
“So this guy [Eich] apparently does not want gay people to get married, and he had to step down. What do you think of that?” Maher asked.
Guests were shown laughing at Maher’s comments, but on Twitter there was dismay that the host had referred to the LGBT community as the “gay mafia”.
While some tweets appeared to support Maher’s claims, others saw it as a sign of the inequality still faced, with many tweeting “the struggle continues”.
The National Organization for Marriage, which backed California’s same-sex marriage ban, called on the public to boycott the Firefox browser.
Organisation president Brian Brown said Eich had been the “target of a vicious character attack by gay activists who have forced him out of the company he has helped lead for years”.
Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker was forced to speak out in the light of Eich’s resignation.
“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard,” she wrote.
Maher is no stranger to controversy. The TV presenter and comic lost his first show Politically Incorrect after making comments shortly after the 9/11 tragedy that ended up getting him cancelled.
Watch the video of Bill Maher making his ‘Gay Mafia’ comment