Television personality Bill Maher says he is sorry for his use of a racially charged word during an interview yesterday.
In the interview on his HBO show “Real Time,” with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, Maher referred to himself as a “house n*****r.”
Maher said in a statement: “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. 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.”
Variety notes that “HBO is facing calls to fire Maher.”
The Guardian explains that even a friend of Maher’s weighed-in to condemn the statement:
DeRay McKesson, a Black Lives Matter activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate, led instant criticism on social media. “Bill Maher has got to go,” he wrote. “There are no explanations that make this acceptable.”
In New York City, civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton addressed the issue in his Saturday sermon.
“Bill Maher decided to get on television last night and sanitize and normalize the N-word,” Sharpton said. “Just because Bill Maher is liberal and our friend, you don’t give him a pass … you never get the right to use that term.”
HBO has not decided to further reprimand Maher:
The cabler (sic) issued a statement Saturday calling Maher’s choice of words “completely inexcusable and tasteless” but stopped short of any formal sanction against the host. Maher’s apology came about two hours after HBO’s statement. According to a source, Maher was surprised by the volume of the backlash but was also motivated to take the highly unusual (for him) step of issuing a statement out of sincere regret.