The comedian is under fire for dropping the n-word during his show, Real Time with Bill Maher last night. The host was interviewing Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. The two were talking about adults dressing up for Halloween in California and Maher asked Sasse if they do that in Nebraska. That’s when Maher said, “I’ve got to get to Nebraska more.” Sen. Sasse said, “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.” After a short pause, Maher replied, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n****r.” Sen. Sasse laughed, then looked slightly uncomfortable. Some audience members could be heard laughing and others groaned. Maher immediately said, “It’s a joke.”
Some don’t think it’s that funny. Many are calling for HBO to fire Maher over the comment. That includes Black Lives Matter Activist Deray McKesson. In a series of tweets, he says, “But really, @BillMaher has got to go. There are no explanations that make this acceptable. And why did the audience think it was okay to laugh? And Ben Sasse doesn’t even flinch. What is happening in the world? Trump has undeniably moved the posts re: what is acceptable in political discourse but we can’t sit idly by, as discourse breeds actions.”
It seems Sen. Sasse had a wake up call himself. Early Saturday morning he addressed the issue in a stream of tweets as well. He wrote, in part “I’m a 1st amendment absolutionist. 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.”
As of this article’s publishing, HBO nor Bill Maher have commented on the incident. Real Time’s Twitter page appears to have tweeted about the show as they usually do, ignoring the n-word incident altogether.
Do you think Bill Maher should be fired over the comment?