Talk show host Bill Maher draws criticism for using the N-word
LOS ANGELES - Bill Maher used the N-word on Friday night's episode of "Real Time," drawing outrage on social media.
His guest on the show was Sen. Ben Sasse, who asked the host, "Would you like to come work in the field with us?
Maher responded, "Work in the fields? Senator, I am a house n--."
The comment drew laughs and groans from the audience, but Sasse appeared to laugh along. Maher quickly added, "It was a joke."
But social media was not amused, with many calling for Maher to be fired.
Deray McKesson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, wrote on Twitter, "But really, @billmaher has got to go. There are no explanations that make this acceptable." He then added a follow-up tweet: "And why did the audience think it was okay to laugh? And Ben Sasse doesn't even flinch. What is happening in the world?""
Actress Danielle Brooks, who stars in Netflix's "Orange is the New Black," echoed those sentiments, writing, "Unacceptable. And the audience applauds!?! So hurtful."
Sasse responded to the growing outrage on Twitter, posting a series of tweets after his flight landed back in Los Angeles. "Am walking off a redeye from LAX," he wrote. "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."