Bill Maher’s “N-bomb” punchline triggers wave of online outrage (VIDEO)
Progressives I thought y'all loved #billmaher . Now y'all mad? I guess he got too comfortable?— Lawrence B.Jones III (@LawrenceBJones3) June 3, 2017
During his interview with the junior Senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, Maher jokingly referred to himself as a “house n*gger,” following the senator’s invitation for Maher to join him working in the fields.
The audience were audibly stunned before being coaxed into the requisite applause for their outspoken host.
Sasse was quick to defend Maher’s right to free speech after the comedic catastrophe.
Am walking off a redeye from LAX.— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 3, 2017
3 reflections on @billmaher
1. I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines.
And why did the audience think it was okay to laugh? And Ben Sasse doesn't even flinch. What is happening in the world?— deray mckesson (@deray) June 3, 2017
Online critics were far more vocal in their condemnation, however. The president and CEO of the NAACP described it as a “vile slur,” regardless of context.
It's remarkable how many of you white males rant about "free speech" on the n-word but wanted Colin Kaepernick fired.#BillMaher— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) June 3, 2017
Fellow talk show host Geraldo Rivera called for an immediate apology from Maher. Others were more direct, calling for Maher to be outright fired from his job.
Racist Bill Maher must be fired and @BenSasse must be held accountable for his endorsement of the n-word— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) June 3, 2017
The gaffe will be hard to live down, even in a week where Trump mashed the keypad with his hand, triggering the #covfefe memestorm and Kathy Griffin engaged in her cry-bullying spectacle following her outrageous publicity stunt with a fake severed head of the POTUS.
The official Women’s March Twitter account claimed that such a backlash was inevitable.
Media titan Oprah eloquently explained during an interview her belief that the word cannot be extricated from its violent and bloody past, and is never acceptable, regardless of context.
It may be time for Bill Maher to institute some “New Rules” for racial slurs live on air.
Maher issued an apology through a representative on Saturday, but was unavailable for further comment as he was travelling, reports Variety.
“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 said in a statement as cited by Variety.
Given the severity of the online outrage, however, one can't help but feel the fallout from this incident is far from over.