Comedian Bill Maher offended scores of people by uttering a racial slur while making a joke on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher and became the top Twitter trending topic Saturday morning.
The host interviewed Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska Friday. The political leader was promoting his book The Vanishing American Adult and the two discussed the maturity of people, namely younger people. Maher said that in California adults dress up for Halloween. Sasse said this is “frowned upon” in his own state.
“I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” Maher said.
“You’re welcome,” Sasse replied. “We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—-,” Maher said, raising his hands and drawing groans and laughs from the audience, while Sasse laughed uncomfortably.
“No, it’s a joke,” Maher said.
The two went on to discuss politics as usual.
Maher, who has pushed the envelope with his on-air jokes before, drew angry reactions from viewers on Twitter.
When @billmaher referred to himself as a “house N*****” as if he had been using this term everyday. It’s as if time is going backwards.
— Cynthia Erivo (@CynthiaEriVo) June 3, 2017
“For @billmaher to just use that word and play it off as a joke on air shows me his real colors. #FireBillMaher,” wrote user @Dexter_A_Taylor.
Some people defended Maher.
Apparently the “N” word has a double standard. Black People use it and it’s no big deal. If you use like Bill Maher, you’re dead.
— Scott L. Spencer (@TheGhoster2910) June 3, 2017
Just heard what Bill Maher said, I gotta say I don’t think it’s a big deal. This society is way too sensitive
— Mitchell Lawhorn (@MitchWVU18) June 3, 2017
Meanwhile, Sasse took to Twitter Saturday morning to offer his belated thoughts.
“Am walking off a redeye from LAX. 3 reflections on @billmaher 1. I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines,” he tweeted. “But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough.”