Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” got in hot water on Friday’s show when he unleashed a racial epithet. He has since apologized for the incident, but continues to face backlash.
Maher issued a statement Saturday in which he said: “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.”
Maher was chatting on the show with Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska when the lawmaker invited Maher to come to the state, saying, “We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.” Maher replied: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—–.”
Maher immediately tried to reassure his audience that it was a joke, but social media quickly blew up with criticism of Maher.
HBO issued a statement Saturday saying: “Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless. We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”
The incident has resulted in at least one cancellation of a guest appearance, with TMZ.com reporting that Sen. Al Franken pulled out of an appearance that had been scheduled for this Friday.
TMZ quotes a spokesperson for Franken saying: “Senator Franken believes that what Bill Maher said was inappropriate and offensive. … He was glad to see Bill, who the Senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.”