"Sunlight is the best disinfectant," said Bill Maher earlier this week in a New York Times interview in which he took some credit for triggering the downfall of Milo Yiannopoulos, whose Friday night appearance on Maher's HBO show brought the host an avalanche of criticism. Now, some sunlight is streaming Maher's way, courtesy of Mediaite, which resurfaced a video from 1998 in which Maher himself speaks favorably about an instance of pedophilia. As Mediaite reports, the then-host of Politically Incorrect on ABC was discussing the case of Mary Kay Letourneau, the Seattle teacher who went to prison after becoming pregnant by a 12-year-old student. A key line: "She is in jail because she is in love. That’s how I view it."
He continued, saying he will admit "that it's unorthodox," per the Washington Post. But "they're keeping the mother in jail because she won’t conform to what society feels should be the perfect American family." And he really continued: Mediaite reports he commented on the case as recently as 2007, when he told Playboy, "I'm the only guy I’ve ever heard who defends Mary Kay Letourneau." He also referenced the similar case of Debra LaFave, which involved a 14-year-old student, saying: "The crime is that we didn’t get it on videotape. Was he being taken advantage of? I wish I had been taken advantage of like that. What a memory she gave him!" USA Today observes that "defending the seemingly indefensible was one of Maher's comic themes ... on Politically Incorrect." Maher has yet to comment. (Read more Bill Maher stories.)