CNN edits Larry King Live interview video, transcript to omit comments of Republican leader’s sexuality; Maher vows to out more GOP leaders
Bill Maher, the comedian and host of HBO’s satirical talk show “Real Time,” outed Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman Wednesday night on “Larry King Live,” and promised to out more top Republican operatives on his own show, “Real Time,” on Friday night.
CNN, which broadcasts “Larry King Live,” edited the interview to remove discussion between Maher and King about Mehlman’s sexual orientation when the interview was re-broadcast later on Wednesday evening.
An official transcript of the program also appears to have been edited to delete the references to Mehlman.
Brooke Buchanan, southwest regional spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, did not return calls or an e-mail by press time Thursday requesting a response to Maher’s comments.
Gay blogger John Aravosis posted information about the interview on his site, AmericaBlog.blogspot.com, with a link to a video clip of the interview he had archived on YouTube.com. He later noted that he had been forced to remove the clip after receiving a “cease-and-desist” order from YouTube officials.
The intact video clip was still accessible Thursday afternoon, however, at The Huffington Post Web site, www.huffingtonpost.com.
A transcript of the remarks was posted on both Aravosis’ site and by The Huffington Post:
Bill Maher: A lot of the chiefs of staff, the people who really run the underpinnings of the Republican Party, are gay. I don’t want to mention names, but I will Friday night…
Larry King: You will Friday night?
BM: Well, there’s a couple of big people who I think everyone in Washington knows who run the Republican…
LK: You will name them?
BM: Well, I wouldn’t be the first. I’d get sued if I was the first. Ken Mehlman. Okay, there’s one I think people have talked about. I don’t think he’s denied it when he’s been, people have suggested, he doesn’t say…
LK: I never heard that. I’m walking around in a fog. I never…Ken Mehlman? I never heard that. But the question is…
BM: Maybe you don’t go to the same bathhouse I do, Larry.
The outing appeared to have coasted beneath the radar of most major media outlets on Thursday, as repeated Internet searches throughout the day turned up only one reference to it: a report posted on World Net Daily, www.worldnetdaily.com.
According to that report, “Rumors of Mehlman’s sexual orientation first appeared last year in GQ Magazine. The RNC denied the charge. “‘Ken Mehlman is not gay,’ said then-RNC official Steve Schmidt. However, when asked directly by “‘gay’ publications, Mehlman has dodged the question.”
WorldNetDaily said Maher brought up the issue of closeted gays in leadership positions in the Republican Party while talking about why the GOP lost control of Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections. The report also quoted Maher as saying GOP voters wanted to vote a straight Republican ticket “but nobody could find a straight Republican.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, November 10, 2006.