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Ben Affleck gets heated on Maher show

Host Bill Maher (right) and actor Ben Affleck (left) look on as Sam Harris, author of "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion," spoke during "Real Time With Bill Maher" in Los Angeles.
Host Bill Maher (right) and actor Ben Affleck (left) look on as Sam Harris, author of "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion," spoke during "Real Time With Bill Maher" in Los Angeles.AP Photo/HBO

“Gone Girl,” the thriller starring Ben Affleck as a man whose wife goes missing, was the No. 1 movie over the weekend, earning $38 million and overcoming the possessed-doll horror flick ‘‘Annabelle.”

But it was Affleck’s performance Friday on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” that had people talking. The Cambridge-bred actor got into an argument with Maher and “The End of Faith” author Sam Harris, who claimed liberals are reluctant to criticize Islam’s views on women’s rights because “every criticism gets confused with bigotry toward Muslims as people.” (Harris called Islam “the motherlode of bad ideas” and Maher said Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia — that will [expletive] kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”

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Affleck called those claims “gross and racist,” arguing that Maher and Harris were blaming all of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims for the deeds of a relatively small number of radical jihadists.

“How about the more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, and don’t do any of the things you say all Muslims do?” said Affleck, who appeared genuinely agitated.

He was on the Maher show ostensibly to promote ‘‘Gone Girl,’’ which is based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn and directed by David Fincher.

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Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.