Bill Maher has a few words to say about his use of a racial epithet last week.
But will HBO have the final say when it comes to this comedian’s future with the company?
On Friday’s edition of Real Time, Maher was conducting an interview with Nebraska Senator Bill Sasse when the politician invited the talk show host to visit Nebraska at some point in the future.
“We’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” Sasse said to Maher, a comment that prompted the following response from Maher:
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n-gger.”
Many members of the crowd immediately groaned and expressed their discomfort with the remark, which led Maher to basically tell everyone to calm down because it was merely a “joke.”
But Twitter users and many celebrities joined in the chorus of those who believed the word usage was way out of line.
Not long after the episode aired, HBO released a statement that condemned the comedian’s quip.
“Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless,” said the network, adding:
We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”
Sasse then Tweeted his take on the exchange, which included regret that he didn’t bring up the epithet as soon as it left Maher’s mouth.
“Am walking off a redeye from LAX. 3 reflections on @billmaher,” wrote the Republican senator, expounding as follows:
“I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines. But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough…
“Here’s what I wish I’d been quick enough to say in the moment:
‘Hold up, why would you think it’s OK to use that word? The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It’s therefore an attack on the American Creed.
“Don’t use it.”
Now, with the backlash continuing to spread around the Internet, Maher has come out and issued an apology.
“Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show,” he said on Saturday.
“Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment.
“The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”
Maher may very well be sorry, but this isn’t the first time he’s perhaps taken a so-called joke too far.
Just a few weeks ago, Maher cracked wise about Ivanka Trump, making an incest reference to her and her famous father.
And remember the time he compared Zayn Malik to a terrorist? Ouch.
“There are no exceptions that make this acceptable,” Reverend Al Sharpton said on Sunday of Maher’s N-Word dropping, making it clear that this isn’t a partisan issue.
“He doesn’t get a pass because we’re friends. What Bill Maher did was normalize a word that is anything but normal.”
Podcast host and activist DeRay McKesson, along with Chance the Rapper, are among those who have called for Maher to be fired by HBO.
Do you think this is warranted?
VOTE below and express your opinion: Should Bill Maher lose his job over this distasteful joke?