In the latest chapter of popular culture’s collective “Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Are Secretly Gay Lovers” storybook, Bill Maher decided to up the ante a little bit on Friday night’s episode of Real Time. The ever-controversial host tackled the subject near the end of his “New Rules” segment, after making a crack about Putin’s predictably shirtless vacation photos. “Vladimir Putin has to admit he doctored this vacation photo — and not just to make your stomach look tighter, Vlad,” Maher quipped. “You airbrushed out whole parts of the original.” Cue photoshopped image of Trump very clearly performing oral sex on Putin. Outrageous! (See a screencap above, courtesy of the Daily Beast’s Matt Wilstein.)
Stephen Colbert notably ran into controversy a few months back, when he made a joke implying much the same about the two men, and he drew the ire of conservatives and accusations of homophobia across partisan lines. The fact is that Maher’s gay joke, while certainly more graphic, is only the latest in a long line of increasingly exhausted and flimsy attempts at satirical, demeaning Trump-Putin commentary. Because really: How much longer must this “gay villain” reading go on?