Bill Maher has caused a storm of controversy for saying the n word.
The late-night host of HBO's Real Time uttered the racial epithet during a conversation Friday with Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Sasse had invited Maher to visit his state. “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us," he said.
“Work in the fields?" Maher replied. "Senator, I’m a house n***er."
The remark, which was not bleeped our during broadcast or the following rebroadcast, incited gasps and also scattered applause among his audience members. “No, it’s a joke," Maher assured them.
But social-media users, among them gay Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, were quick to condemn the language and call for the show's cancellation.
— deray mckesson (@deray) June 3, 2017
After the backlash, HBO released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter calling Maher's words "inexcusable."
"Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless," the HBO statement said. "We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”
Maher is no stranger to controversy or offensive language. He invited the gay alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos on his show in February, when he thought it was appropriate to call him a "fag" on air.
"Stop taking the bait, liberals," Maher said, regarding Yiannopoulos' tactics of inciting racism and transphobia during his controversial college tour. "The fact that they all freaked out about this little impish British fag."