Bill Maher Apologizes for Using Racial Slur on ‘Real Time’

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

Real Time host Bill Maher has issued an apology after using a racial slur during a segment of his HBO program Friday night.

“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,” Maher said in a statement 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 was speaking to Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse on Real Time Friday night about the senator’s new book, The Vanishing American Adult, when the topic of how adults dress up for Halloween came up. Sasse told Maher that in Nebraska, adults don’t often dress up for Halloween.

“I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” Maher joked.

“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***er,” Maher replied, before quickly adding that the comment was a joke. The remark drew gasps and some laughter from the audience.

HBO issued a statement Saturday saying the comment would be removed from future broadcasts of the show.

“Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless. We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show,” the premium cable channel said.

Maher’s comment sparked outrage across social media Friday night, with some prominent commentators, including Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson, calling for his firing from HBO.

Maher’s comment comes as comedians have faced increasing blowback for what many critics have called inappropriate and indecent jokes.

Last week, comedian Kathy Griffin was fired from her role on CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live broadcast and saw the cancellation of at least five scheduled performances on her comedy tour after a photo was published in which she posed with a bloodied, decapitated head meant to resemble that of President Donald Trump.

In May, Late Show host Stephen Colbert issued an on-air apology after he said Trump’s mouth was only good for being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “c*ck holster.” The FCC looked into the comments but decided no action was warranted.


Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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