Bill Maher is defending his decision to book Milo Yiannopoulos as a guest on his HBO talk show after a journalist dropped out of the show in protest.

Jeremy Scahill said on Wednesday that he would not appear on the show on Friday as scheduled, saying that there was no value in debating Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News, the right-wing website with close ties to President Donald Trump.

“He has many venues to spew his hateful diatribes,” Scahill wrote. “There is no value in ‘debating’ him. Appearing on Real Time will provide Yiannopoulos with a large, important platform to openly advocate his racist, anti-immigrant campaign. It will be exploited by Yiannopoulos in an attempt to legitimize his hateful agenda. Yiannopoulos’s appearance could also be used to incite violence against immigrants, transgender people, and others at a time when the Trump administration is already seeking to formalize a war against some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Scahill added that he disagrees with, and finds offensive, some of Maher's views, “particularly when his comments on Islam and Muslims veer into vitriol.”

“My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol,” Maher said in a statement given to Entertainment Weekly. “Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech. If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims – and he might be – nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.”

Yiannopoulos, 23, has been called a spokesperson for the alt-right, which he denies. While gay, he has called gay rights detrimental to humanity and is opposed to marriage equality. Last year, Twitter permanently banned Yiannopoulos for “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”

Scahill will be replaced on the program by MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance.