The HBO late night host and comedian Bill Maher dropped a racial slur during an interview with Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska.
Maher used the N-word live on “Real Time” and drew quick and widespread criticism. He was talking to Sasseabout how adults in California still dress up for Halloween.
When the Republican said this didn’t happen in his state, Maher said, “I’ve got to get to Nebraska more.”
“You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” replied Sasse.
That is when Maher dropped the derogatory word.
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n******.”
After a few seconds, he pointed out the sarcasm and said, “No, it’s a joke.”
The terrible and more-than-a-little-racist joke received a mixture of groans and laughter from the audience. Red-faced Sasse also looked visibly uncomfortable with the comedian’s remarks.
People on social media reacted strongly to the moment and many called HBO to fire him.
Racist Bill Maher must be fired and @BenSasse must be held accountable for his endorsement of the n-word— Jack Posobiec ???? (@JackPosobiec) June 3, 2017
I'm a huge Bill Maher fan, but he just said (as a joke in his mind), "I'm a house nigga". Off limits, Bill. Not cool at all!— Jacquelyn Carter (@jcarter1263) June 3, 2017
@billmaher jokes have limits. high level of carelessness & indifference is destructive. Notice how Kathy Griffin self-destroyed!— M.M (@Mac4RFW) June 3, 2017
They just clapped like Bill Maher didn't say anything offensive pic.twitter.com/AIWqbBnhnj— ERV (@ervcas) June 3, 2017
Me after watching that clip of Bill Maher pic.twitter.com/y099nvBsp0— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) June 3, 2017
The comedian is on his 15th year to hosting “Real Time.” And while it's shocking he so casually dropped the racial slur on live TV, it's, unfortunately, not surprising. Muslims know that all too well.
Maher is openly anti-religion, however, he is rabidly anti-Islam. More than once he has been criticized for making comments on his show that have been perceived Islamophobic.
Remember the infamous 2014 exchange between Maher, neuroscientist Sam Harris and Hollywood actor Ben Affleck?
Maher, at one point, said Islam is "like the mafia because it will f***ing kill you."
And it's not just Islamophobia. The Real Time host has a penchant to provide platforms to like-minded bigots like Milo Yiannopoulos. The comedian also came under fire for an incest joke he made about President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump.
Also, Maher has always had a racial blindspot. He once said although he supports NFL's Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice, the player is an "idiot."
#colinkapernick is an idiot.I support his protest,but stick to what u know: kneeling and interceptions, and then look up "false equivalency"— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 28, 2016
So, while Bill Maher's use of a racial slur warrants accountability, the truth is that he crossed that line many times before.
It remains to be seen if HBO finally bothers to pay attention to his in-your-face-bigotry this time.