Bill Maher Enrages Bostonians and One Directioners All at Once

The comedian has done it again.

Bill Maher, Boston’s least-beloved late-night host, has stepped into it again with a joke comparing Zayn Malik, now an ex-member of boy band One Direction, to Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The “Real Time with Bill Maher” host had previously endeared himself to the Boston community with a rant suggesting that the city was overreacting to the Marathon attack. “Your city was not leveled by Godzilla,” he explained to us. His latest comment on the marathon, though, has Bostonians joined in their distaste by the most fearsome special-interest group in America today: One Direction fans.

Maher made his offending remark in an online-only video posted last week in which he commented on Malik’s decision to leave the British boy band, saying, “Just tell me two things, Zayn. Which one in the band were you? And where were you during the Boston Marathon?” The screen then put Zayn’s headshot next to the famous photo of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And with that, Maher managed to unite the distaste of Bostonians, One Direction fans, Muslims (Malik is Muslim, so fans accused Maher of racism and Islamophobia by comparing him to a terrorist), and really anyone else who might sympathize with those groups.

Immediately, the hashtag #RespectForZayn began bouncing around Twitter. Emotions among the One Direction fans were already running high after Zayn’s exit from the band last month, and they were in no mood for a perceived attack on their dearly departed friend.

Can their ire exceed the anger that came out of Boston after Maher’s last go-round? Could it even rise to the point that HBO has to respond by disciplining Maher? We doubt it. The host has been accused of spouting off racially insensitive material for years. He survived the Marathon flare-up last year without a scar. And One Direction fans were probably never Maher’s main demographic, anyway.