On Friday's episode of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," Maher used the n-word during an interview with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse.
People then started calling on HBO to fire Maher.
And many pointed out that it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Maher has previously made degrading comments about trans people, women, and especially Muslims.
People on the right also criticized Maher.
As did Chance the Rapper.
Early Saturday morning, Sasse apologized on Twitter for not speaking up when Maher used the racial slur.
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.
2. But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough.
3. 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.”
An HBO spokesperson told BuzzFeed News Maher's comment was "completely inexcusable and tasteless" and that they would remove it from re-runs.
Saturday afternoon, in a statement to BuzzFeed News, Maher said he regrets the use of the "offensive" word which he "used in the banter of a live moment."
Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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