Outrageously liberal HBO personality Bill Maher incurred the collective wrath of America last week after he used an inappropriate racial slur during the June 2 broadcast of his popular weekly show. The incident took place while Maher was having a conversation with Republican Senator Ben Sasse.
During the exchange, Sasse invited Bill Maher to come to his home state of Nebraska to “work in the fields with us.” Maher, admittedly jokingly, responded by calling himself a “house n****r.” Immediately following Maher’s shocking and decidedly politically incorrect gaffe, social media lit up with complaints from people from around the country. Celebrities and laypersons, Bill Maher critics and fans alike took the comedian to task over his use of the racial slur.
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—–.”
Many who expressed their outrage at Maher’s on air racism demanded that HBO drop the popular star from their network over the ordeal. Included among the most vocal critics calling for Bill Maher’s head on a platter was infamous racial rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton. According to Sharpton, he’s a fan of Maher. Indeed, in one tweet, Sharpton wrote that he loves Bill Maher. Even so, the good Reverend decreed that he would be taking his anti-Maher claim straight to the powers that be at HBO
NAN wants to meet w/ HBO asap about the normalizing of the use of the N word. I know and love Bill Maher but this is unacceptable. I will
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) June 3, 2017
address this Bill Maher issue and our move on HBO at this morning's NAN Saturday Action Rally. My address is live at 10 am/et on Impact TV.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) June 3, 2017
Despite the unmitigated outrage of Maher friends and foes alike over the late night TV host’s casual and thoughtless use of one of the most taboo racial slurs in America, HBO has reportedly decided not to cancel his show, or even to suspend Maher. As ABC News reported, the network announced on Monday that Real Time with Bill Maher will air as scheduled and during its normal time slot this coming Friday.
In a statement, HBO announced that Bill Maher and his always notorious potty mouth will be returning on June 9, without missing a beat and without so much as a suspension for the late night host over his on air use of the “N-word.”
“Bill Maher’s show will air as regularly scheduled Friday night.”
Props to Al Franken for canceling Bill Maher appearance after Maher uses racial slur live on air. https://t.co/YlF9iSPuAq
— Jonathan Riley (@JonRiley7) June 5, 2017
According to the statement, Maher will use at least part of his upcoming broadcast to publicly apologize and attempt to atone for his poor language choice last week.
Immediately following last week’s episode of Real Time, HBO issued a statement promising not to re-broadcast the offensive comment on its network. Prior to the statement, HBO did inadvertently air Bill Maher’s racial slur a second time before editing the show for future broadcasts.
HBO statement on Bill Maher's use of the N-word. pic.twitter.com/Bs93fXfXMn
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) June 3, 2017
While Bill Maher and HBO have borne the brunt of the public outrage over Maher’s use of the racially charged N-word during a live television broadcast, Republican Senator Ben Sasse has also faced some backlash over the incident. Many of the politician’s constituents, as well as others who saw the clip of his seemingly innocuous exchange with Bill Maher, believe that Sasse should have used the shocking television moment as a teaching moment.
Or at the very least call out his host over the use of the word.
While the outspoken Maher has remained relatively mum regarding his use of the N-word and the public outcry that it spawned when aired on live TV, he did issue a statement following the incident. According to Bill Maher, his use of the taboo word was simply part of the “banter of a live moment.” He added that he regretted his choice of words, and that regret led to a long, sleepless night of reflecting. Maher acknowledged that the word was offensive, and said that he was “very sorry” for using it on television.
“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.”
Unfortunately for Bill Maher, this isn’t the first time he’s been embroiled in a highly publicized, racially-charged incident. Back in 2012, Maher sat down with comedienne Aisha Tyler on her podcast, and in that interview he compared Wayne Brady to Barack Obama with regard to their respective “blackness,” according to a previous report by the Inquisitr.According to Bill Maher, neither Obama nor Brady are “real” black men.
As well as he should. If someone does not like it, don't watch him. PC is the worst disease we caught from Europe.
— deplorable jayham (@YHahami) June 5, 2017
If Bill Maher had used the 'F' word about Gays on national television, he'd have been fired on the spot!
— Dr.Darrell Scott (@PastorDScott) June 6, 2017
Bill Maher used the N-word on TV . Paula Deen admitted 2 saying it 20 yrs ago & she lost show. Bill Maher lost nothing. Double standard
— Tellit Likeitis (@TellitL27829622) June 6, 2017
I cancelled my #HBO service the only that gets their attention is $$$$$ i hope others do the same
— Dog Tag Dealer (@DogTagDealer) June 5, 2017
“[Obama’s] not a real black man. He’s more like Wayne Brady.”
Wayne Brady would go on to call out Bill Maher during a subsequent interview, touching on Maher’s dating history that reportedly involves African-American women.
“You know, I respected him as a comedian and with what he does on HBO [with Real Time], [but] when he uses me as the cultural linchpin of his ‘[Obama’s] not black enough’ argument, that’s bulls***. Bill Maher has never walked in my shoes, nor any other black person’s shoes and I said in [another] interview [regarding Bill], just because you’ve been with a black woman or two, you [think] you [know] the ‘Black experience?'”
Later, Wayne Brady would touch on Bill Maher’s comparison between himself and then-President Obama in an interview with Huffington Post. In that sit-down, Brady threatened to get physical with Maher the next time they pair talked.
“When I talk to you again, I will give you that ‘black dude’ and I will beat your a** in public.”
— Jonathan Edwards (@HITrumpetGuy) June 3, 2017
The HBO decision to allow Bill Maher’s show to continue airing uninterrupted comes amid weeks of questionable, controversial and un-PC celebrity dramas. Several weeks ago, comedian Stephen Colbert opened his show with a Trump-bashing monologue in which he stated that the only thing the POTUS’ mouth was good for was being Putin’s “c*** holster.”
“In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c*** holster.”
Social media exploded with complaints about the incident, including calls to the ABC Network demanding that Colbert be fired, as well as complaints to the FCC. Ultimately, Stephen Colbert kept his job and the FCC declined to pursue any action against the late night host.
Bill Maher to keep his job after using the N-word on air https://t.co/yn8XEBCuA1
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) June 5, 2017
Last week, comedienne Kathy Griffin dominated social media after posing for an artistic photo shoot featuring her holding a bloody Trump mask that resembled the severed head of the POTUS. Griffin would go on to apologize for the photo, which she admitted “went too far,” however, the stunt cost her a slew of stand-up dates and her CNN New Year’s Eve gig with Anderson Cooper. In a late week press conference, Griffin accused Donald Trump of being a bully.
While HBO’s statement indicates that Bill Maher will be back on the air this Friday, it remains uncertain if continued public outrage may cut his long-running gig with the cable network short.
What are your thoughts regarding the Bill Maher racial slur debacle? Should America accept his apology and move on? Or was his casual use of the N-word indicative of a deeper habit of using controversial, racially charged language? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by John Shearer/AP Images]