Bill Maher regrets dropping a racial oath during an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse on Friday’s episode of HBO’s Real Time.
“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 told Cece York. “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.”
During an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Sasse invited Maher to visit his state, the comedian responded, “come work in the fields”, the continued, “Work in the fields?”, then he added, “Senator, I am a house (expletive).”
Maher’s racial comment was met with groans.
Spokesman Quentin Schaffer for HBO issued a statement, saying, “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 episode was removed from HBO’s streaming platform by Saturday afternoon and the interview segment was not found on the show’s YouTube channel.
Sasse to his official Twitter account to explain the controversy, saying, “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.’”
Not The First Time
This is not the first time for Maher to raise eyebrows when utter controversial comments; he was dismissed from HBO in 2003 over a controversial comment he shared on a previous show he hosted, ABC’s Politically Incorrect. Maher was criticised after he refused to call the hijackers cowards
Maher wound up on HBO in 2003 as a result of a controversial comment he made on his previous late-night show, ABC’s Politically Incorrect, following the 9/11 attacks when he disagreed with then-President George W. Bush, who labelled the hijackers cowards, as then-president George Bush did.
After that, Maher entered into a contract with HBO, presenting Real Time.