By Ran Aubrey Frazier
Originally published on Advocate.com April 07 2014 12:26 PM ET
Was former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich taken down by the so-called gay mafia for his 2008 donation to Proposition 8? Bill Maher jokingly made this accusation on Friday night during his weekly HBO talk show, Real Time.
During the Overtime segment, former Republican congressman Tom Davis, who was among the five guests on Maher's panel, said of Eich's resignation, "I guess he gave a thousand dollars [to Prop. 8] eight years ago, and it's come back to haunt him."
"Well, and he gave it when President Obama still was against gay marriage," conservative writer and political analyst Carrie Sheffield interjected. "So, I don't think it's very fair."
"Also, I think there is a 'gay mafia,'" Maher mused, receiving moderate laughs from several panelists and the audience. "I think if you cross them, you do get whacked! I really do."
The term "gay mafia" typically has a pejorative connotation and is often used by those who are critical of LGBT rights' expansion. Maher's comment did not go unnoticed on social media. Steve Silberman, a writer for Wired and other magazines tweeted, "I'd love to know who @BillMaher THINKS he's talking about with this 'gay mafia' business. One name? Two?"
Conservative columnist Matt Barber also picked up on Maher's comment, tweeting, "When even Bill Maher calls #LGBT movement the 'Gay Mafia' you know America is recognizing the the threat of #homofascism."