Bill Maher used the n-word on his live HBO show, but he ‘regrets’ saying it

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Generally speaking, I don’t like to cover stories involving Bill Maher. I’ve thought for years now that he’s a pretty blatant Islamophobe and racist. On average, I think we cover Maher or a Maher-adjacent story about once a year, even though he regularly makes news for his interviews or the dumb and/or offensive sh-t he says. The last time we talked about him on this site was when he interviewed that Alt-Right bridge troll Milo Yiannopoulos earlier this year, and they giggled together about their transphobia.

So, it was no secret that Bill Maher is not a good person, and that he really shouldn’t have the platform he has. But this might be the end of Bill Maher’s HBO show, Real Time. And it’s because Maher used the n-word, live on air, during an interview with Nebraska senator Ben Sasse. Here’s the exchange:

The context – not that it matters – is that Sasse tells Maher he’s always welcome to come to Nebraska and “work in the field.” Maher responds, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n–.” The way it just comes rolling off his tongue is what disturbs me, because it’s obvious that it’s a word he’s used often enough when cameras are not around.

Much like the Kathy Griffin thing, Maher is now being held up as some kind of example of liberal fascism, and of course smug conservatives are so excited that they have some kind of moral high ground. Sure, they have to own Jeff Sessions and everything he does, but now they get to scream “BUT BILL MAHER!” Meanwhile, just like the Kathy Griffin thing, liberals have no ownership of Bill Maher. We don’t give a sh-t about him. We stopped giving a sh-t about him years ago.

In any case, HBO released a statement, 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.” Huh. That’s not really the issue, HBO. Ben Sasse also tweeted a statement, basically trying to make people forget about his uncomfortable laughter. And after hours and hours passed, finally Maher released a statement, saying:

“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.”

[From CNN]

Man, what a bulls–t apology. The only credit I’ll give him is that he didn’t say “I’m sorry to those I offended.” But really, it’s only a bulls–t apology because what he said can’t be walked back with a “I regret saying it.”

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110 Responses to “Bill Maher used the n-word on his live HBO show, but he ‘regrets’ saying it”

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Fingers crossed that he gets booted from the spotlight, just like Bill Oreilly.

    • Nicole Savannah, GA says:

      You know on that PBS family origins show, he and a O’Reilly are cousins?!

      • Lirko says:

        Omgosh!? Seriously? Girl, you just made my day! Can’t make this stuff up!

      • imqrious2 says:

        Since Maher is half Irish, and O’Reilly is a common Irish name, I’d seriously doubt he’s related to *that* Bill O’Reilly.

    • supposedtobeworking says:

      I am not supporting Bill with my comment. He’s an egotistical a@@hat.
      Bill O’Reilly was fired for his sexual assaults on women, wasn’t he? That makes his case different to me. He should be compared to people who have also said offensive things, and should receive the same outcome.

      I do have to say that I am pleased we are drawing lines with what is acceptable speech and language. People do have the freedom to say what they want in the US, but that freedom doesn’t make it right (and I am not referencing the 1st amendment, I know that it freedom of the press from government censure). I would love a return to civility. Not political correctness, but an absence of jerkery.

  2. David says:

    I really do wonder how this will play out????

    • Esmom says:

      I don’t really care other than it gave the hypocritical right more fuel for their hypocritical fire, dammit. That last tweet about the confererate flag says it all.

    • denisemich says:

      The trend is that he will be fired. But maher is the same ass they hired years ago.

    • DystopianDance says:

      It’s an HBO show, and not prime time news, and I hesitate to yell “fire him” because he doesn’t wear a girdle on some of his idiocy. Bill can be funny, as well as sexist, racist and homophobic. I just hesitate to say that a liberal is a Ghandi at all times to be acceptable. I personally don’t live to watch him, and I cringe with some of his views, but he is interesting at the same time. If Christians can defend their 45th, than as a liberal, I reserve the right to defend Bill Maher. I take the good and leave the rest. The deplorable at Fox went so much further to abuse human beings than the imperfect Bill Maher, and I’m tired with this “off with their heads” mentality regarding opinions.

  3. grabbyhands says:

    He is a loathsome, vile xenophobie and he has been for years but he got a pass because he’s a white man. And he will again. HBO is mad, but probably not mad enough to can a man for doing and saying what would have gotten anyone else fired long ago. Maher is only sorry that we’re in a climate where people are going to push back harder. I’m only surprised he didn’t trot out the “I’ve dated black women” line.

    Make no mistake, before he had fame and money, he was the kind of little toad going to blackface frat parties and calling women whores because they wouldn’t date a “nice guy” like him. Trust.

  4. Kate says:

    He’s always been like that. He already said the n word on live TV. And sorry Kaiser but it’s not just conservatives. Plenty of liberals are constently going to his show and are defending him on social media.
    There IS racism on the left. Just look at the way we erased the voices of black women who voted for HRC in favor of the white working class’s perceived or real hardships or the way we let slide Sanders’ ignoring the Southern states during the primaries because it was mainly black voters and who cares about them anyway.

    • Kdlaf says:

      This times infinity!!!

    • adastraperaspera says:

      All the post-election hand-wringing about the plight of the white working class just drives me crazy. I say this as someone who is white and from a working class, rural family myself. The Democratic Party has to wake up and support their actual base. African-American women, as usual, have demonstrated tremendous leadership through both the election and our current national nightmare.

      • third ginger says:

        Thanks so much for your comment. I have been horrified by pundits [even Democratic ones] who suggest my party has to abandon so called “identity politics” These are people and people’s children. BLM, LGBT movement, etc. I am am an old white lady progressive. My daughter is gay.

        I also came from a working class background and my parents from poverty. My grandfather was a “breaker boy.” Child coal miner!

    • Tulip Garden says:

      👏👏👏👏👏Very uncomfortable fact stated so well.

    • Nicole Savannah, GA says:

      Thank you

    • Crumpet says:

      Very well said.

  5. Jenns says:

    I don’t think HBO will fire him. But, his show depends on guests, especially celebs, so it’s time for them to boycott.

    • Birdix says:

      There’s at least one hair-plugged, botoxed actor reveling in schadenfreude in a back-alley poker room in L.A. this morning. Before heading to church with his family of course.

  6. Snowflake says:

    I just don’t even know what to say. What would make him think something like that is ok to say? And to just throw it in there, does he think he’s being cool or edgy or idk what. Just like the people who say, oh, we can’t use the n word but they do. Why would you even want to use it? I’m really starting to see why some POC give white people like me the side eye. Prob cause they think we are like these fools.

    • jenn says:

      That’s exactly why he said it: he’s just another “edgelord” troll who thinks it’s cute when people “feel” victimized by “political incorrectness.” Part of being a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot, is going out of your way to make jokes at the expense of the most vulnerable people around you, then rolling your eyes and telling those people to “sack up” when they have the audacity to express their pain. His cavalier attitude sucks, and it’s also tacky.

      Maher makes jokes like these because he thinks he’s smarter and better than everyone else—his sense of superiority is deeply internalized. He’s “above it all.” To him, we just don’t “get the joke” (and his half-assed apology reflects that). I get the joke. I even understand that it’s supposed to be self-effacing—it’s “ironic” when a wealthy white guy compares his plight to being a “good slave”—but Maher’s “irony” is tired. It’s so ’90s it hurts. He isn’t a straight-shooting maverick, he’s a prick; he isn’t a provocateur, but a bully. He wasn’t critiquing race and privilege; he was making light of how much money he has. He was literally using the n-word to make light of how rich he is. Gag me.

      His show won’t be shit-canned, and he won’t feel even a tiny bit grateful about that. And—you nailed it—a lot of people look at him and go “well that’s White liberalism for you.” Because it *is*. He is exactly the kind of person who gets paid big bucks to speak for White liberals—he’s a “cool liberal,” not like those other high-strung “activist” liberals. Yeah, I can’t stand him

      • I Choose Me says:

        +1000000000000000000000 to every single word you typed.

      • guilty pleasures says:

        Jenn, this is a thoughtful reply. I was watching when he said this. I am a light skinned black woman, hence I would have been a ‘house nigger.’ I would have been subjected to rape by the master and any of his friends. I would have had to bear his children and pretend they weren’t his. I would have been an outsider among my own people, and outsider everywhere, and worst of all I would still be a slave.
        I was taken aback by his cavalier joke, and immediately was ashamed that I had continued to watch even though that very night he railed against Islam and Muslims, stating the untruth that they were responsible for more bloodshed than any other group (gun totin’ ‘Merkins come to mind…). I should have turned him off, but he wasn’t coming for me. Until moments later.

  7. Lolo86lf says:

    I am at loss here. The people who are really hideously racist such as Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, Jeff Sessions, Bannon, etcétera get to go to the White House where as attention-seeking fame whores such as Griffin and Maher get fired. At this rate us on the left are going to end up with no voices to defend us from the right. Imagine if they would have fired Colbert over his cock holster statement about Trump and Putin. I am gay and I was not offended by Colbert’s remark. We are not going to find a perfect person to fight Trump’s dictatorial regime if we keep this up.

    • Kate says:

      Maher is racist. As a black Woman, he made my blood boil.

      • Lolo86lf says:

        Maher should not have said the n word that is true, it was racist and very offensive. But Maher is not the real enemy of minorities here. you should spend you energy fighting the true nemesis such as Trump and Coulter, these two people want America to revert back to the year of 1800.

      • Kate says:

        I can and I will fight both. Trump is my enemy, Maher is my enemy. By using derogatory terms about black people, he creates the kind of atmosphere where people like A. Countler feels empowered and people like J Sessions believes they can lock as many black people as they want.
        The idea that liberals cannot be racist is grotesque. The difference between liberals and conservative when it comes to race is that POC are part of the Dem coalition which forces liberals to listen to us (most of the time, see: Sanders) whereas Conservatives don’t give a shit.
        I will not let white liberals’ racism slide.

      • Merritt says:


        Maher has pushed hateful ideology for years. To pretend that is not harmful is offensive.

    • Goldie says:

      Uh Maher wasn’t fired. What made you think he was?

      As a black person, I personally wasn’t offended by his comment. (I thought it was lame and not funny, but not particularly offensive) However, I also find it annoying when white people (not directed at you specifically) try tell black folks that they shouldn’t be offended. I can totally understand why his comments would be hurtful to some people, and I don’t think that he should automatically get a pass just because he’s a liberal. Liberals are certainly capable of being ignorant.

      • Lolo86lf says:

        @Goldie: I know he wasn’t fired. I love your opinion about the issue. Glad to see someone seeing this in a reasonable manner.

      • Bahumb says:

        @Lolo86lf….You do not get to dictate or approve of how minorities should react. Yes, i like my racist to highlight themselves in confederation accessories, but most of the time it is not blatantly carrying a fiery cross. I will tell you from personal experience that secret racists are equally as dangerous, if not worse. Boston anyone? Racism and reactions to racism are not one size fits all. Next you will be telling me how Obama made America more racists….

    • Nicole says:

      Please white liberals can be (and have been) just as racist as the idiots on the right. Because you’re a liberal you want some free pass from minorities to engage in microagressions or outright racism?! So we can have some white champions? Nah miss me with that.
      The N word is offensive to a lot of us. Just because some black people use it doesn’t mean a lot of us don’t find it offensive.
      And in case I’m 2017 people STILL don’t get it…it’s different coming from a white person. It always will be.

    • grabbyhands says:

      Sorry, the left doesn’t get a pass for their, shall we say, genteel racism, just because the right has worse racists. In a way it is worse because we’re supposed the be the team fighting for EVERYONE to move forward and when we make weak excuses for this, it makes us all look bad, Worse, it makes us look like obnoxious, self righteous hypocrites.

      One of the many weaknesses of the left is their inability to recognize and own up to this. It isn’t fun to acknowledge this (I have been voting left since my first election), but until we do and disavow the things we condemn the other guys for, we will always have a weak standing.

      Once again, someone thought it was more important to get attention (Cause it’s you know, FUNNY) instead of thinking of the consequences. We’re supposed to be smarter than this.

    • detritus says:

      I don’t want Maher to be considered a voice for ‘the right’. He isn’t a liberal, he’s a libertarian, they are very very different.
      Maher uses his platform to preach intolerance of people who isn’t comfortable with.

      He’s not my voice, I’d rather have none.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      I agree with Kate, Grabbyhands, and the others on this. Yes there are worst racists on the right, but people shouldn’t be pressured into thinking they should only be critical of the MOST hateful, horrific violent examples of it in order to ‘help the cause’. And Maher has been getting himself a bit of a reputation with these kinds of issues over the years.

    • jenn says:

      Lolo86f—You raise a great point, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, too, lately: With stuff like the Colbert brouhaha, the people leading the outrage tend to be the “alt-right,” a troll group that doesn’t actually give a sh-t about homophobic jokes, or racism or sexism or bigotry. They’re just smelling blood in the water: “Ooh! A transgressive joke from a supposed liberal! Let’s initiate the pile-on so he’s eaten by his own!” The idea is to prove to them*selves* that we “liberals” are hypocritical, free-speech-hating fascists who are easily manipulated into parodying ourselves. (Now, whether Colbert’s joke was actually homophobic is an argument for another time; I love Colbert, but his writing staff do have a history of poorly-conceived jokes.)

      This is a tried-and-true strategy, though. The then-burgeoning “alt-right” did it with Gamergate, too, with their talk of “ethics”—they didn’t actually care about journalism, but they knew they could create pain and chaos by attacking the very people and publishers who DO think integrity is super-important, and they strove to undermine those folks on “their own terms.” It’s incredibly effective, aiming to create an impossible double-standard where “liberals” have to be 100000 times “as good.” It’s a proven strategy in the Internet-troll bullying playbook and, hell, it works. It worked against women and minorities—Gamergaters were the same folks who went after Shaun King, for instance—and they did it to Joss Whedon and to Gawker, two problematic-but-otherwise-innocuous entities. Emboldened by their successes, the alt-right now organizes social-media “raids” on even bigger targets. (Getting Trump elected was their most successful raid yet!)

      Your observation appears to have taken a lot of flack, which is too bad—although I do see how readers might interpret it as saying “let’s knock off the ‘identity politics’ and unite against a common enemy,” which, ehhhhh, no, let’s not. But I do agree that there IS a pattern of fresh hot outrage being artificially manufactured by angry young Internet-savvy White males, who, with their interests in “memes” and “trolling” and their desire to be “part of something greater,” are indeed capable of engineering cultural backlashes against some pretty mundane folks.

      I don’t say this to delegitimize righteous anger at Maher. He’s a real sack of shit, and—let’s be honest, here—he’s largely responsible for the “troll playbook.” These folks absolutely learned from people like Maher, for whom “political correctness” has been a pet bugaboo since the 1990s. He’s a master of generating faux outrage while simultaneously accusing others of being “victims” and “snowflakes” and “sissies.” If anyone deserves to have his star finally fall (and in such an ironic way!), it’s Bill Maher.

      But I do agree with your larger point, which is that we should be skeptical or self-critical of whomever we get caught up in crucifying next. I think this was an insightful comment, just maybe better suited for the Kathy Griffin post (or whatever).

  8. Anna says:

    Outrage! Off with his head! He used an offensive word, he doesn’t deserve to live! Does anybody really believe this pearl-clutching of the right? It’s just throwing progressives a bone so they will be fighting amongst themselves. Meanwhile over at fox they high five and laugh while taking care to only think these words but not say them on air.

    • Merritt says:

      Maher is not progressive. He has long pushed racist ideas.

      • Original T.C. says:

        I too think he crossed the line by using (continuing to use) the N word. As a Black woman I HATE hearing that word regardless of who says it, including other Black people. I hate that it’s so pervasive in our culture. So I will never defend Maher on this or Islamophobia.

        However I will add that he is the only White Male, “Libertarian”or not, who *consistently* has Black and Brown voices from rap stars to academics on his shows to add to the discussion. And not for show. Same with having women who can and do stand up to him. He can be sarcastic but he believes in equality for women and supported HRC.

        A lot of white progressives have the token one or two same Black or Brown faces appearing but Maher has always been the exception. And the one exception who actually spends time with these guests off-camera as friends. His problem is this friendliness leads him to believe he gets a pass which he does not. Like some Black pass.

        Also I hate his constant bashing of aspects of Islam but he is also one of the few talk shows that also invites a variety of men and women who are Muslim and with different views. I just wish he were more open minded. Additionally he always invites Right wingers or a Republican o the panels and takes them on directly.

        IMO, he SHOULD have his show cancelled for an entire month and have daily lessons on words that are not OK to use, ever. But IMO he is not a man with either hatred nor feelings of superiority over Black people.

  9. adastraperaspera says:

    The way the “n” word trips off his tongue is unsettling. I’m also offended about the classism inherent in the comment. It exposes a total lack of respect for and ignorance about how very hard harvest crews work and how much labor is needed (often migrant) to produce food. Come on Bill, could you not have just said, “sure, that sounds interesting,” instead of defaulting to racist fratboy sarcasm. And I say this as someone who liked his movie “Religulous” and thinks he has done some interesting work in his career.

  10. Guest says:

    if HBO fires him, it’s just going to play right into hands of the Trump supporters.

    • Merritt says:

      No it won’t. Maher is not progressive, he is not an ally, and he doesn’t do anything to help the left. He is just another racist who needs to be fired.

  11. detritus says:

    I think one one of the things we forget is Bill is not liberal. He is a libertarian.
    I’ve found that libertarianism seems to come with the worst forms of racism and sexism. I think the platform itself has people view others as getting what they deserve in a free market.
    So libertarians view unsuccessful people as deserving their lack of succcess.
    I dunno, just my experience with the few I know, but Maher seems to be a dickwad exactly like this.
    More concerning than the way he just said the n word, is the context. He’s cool with using it when referring to slavery. He’s not using it as a ‘so cool with the black folk, I’m a homie too’ kind of way. Like dude, you’re referring to house ni@@ers? Are you fucking with us? This is a joke he’s made before, maybe this is just the first time publicly.

    • Aster says:

      Wrong. He is not a libertarian. He voted for Hilary and even donated a million bucks to Obama’s campaign. I watch Real Time EVERY WEEK and I do not think bill is a racist, sexist or xenophobe. I am dissapointed in him for using that word and don’t know why he said it but I think his show is always interesting and he consistently has women and people of color on his panel. He also has Republicans on often and welcomes a debate with them which makes the show very diverse. As for his anti Muslim beliefs, why does ANYone defend any religion that is sexist and homophobic? Bill is an atheist and does not agree with any organized religion. It is not xenophobia…it is simply a criticism of any religion that controls people with fear and hate

      • smcollins says:

        What Aster said. Pretty much sums it up for me.

      • Merritt says:


        You ignore that Maher reserves far more vitriol for Islam in comparison to other religions. It is also unfair and incorrect to paint all Muslims with the same brush. Some of the most sexist and homophobic policy in the United States comes from politicians who claim to be Christians, so for Maher to repeatedly go after Islam the way he does makes no sense.

      • Feedmechips says:


      • fiorucci says:

        Merritt what I read yesterday is that Maher used to go after (extreme) Christianity a lot, in the 90s. Then after 911 he started being more “interested” in islam. So Islam is not the first religion he has slammed, i think that counts for something. I haven’t seen his movie, “religiousless” or whatever but he apparently goes after Judaism (his parents are catholic and Jewish) in that too! Since I don’t watch him often I can’t say whether I agree with him. But I like that he challenges some of the group think on the left; without himself moving to the right.
        It is upsetting to hear about this incident- i make clumsy jokes sometimes too. The difference is racial slurs don’t pop out because I never use them in private or anywhere. I think he must make a lot of awful jokes with bad words in private.
        Doesn’t make everything he has said on every subject wrong though.

      • detritus says:
        And his wiki both state libertarian.
        He’s quoted saying he’s libertarian.

      • Merritt says:


        Even a broken clock is right twice a day. The reality is he has been getting a pass for extreme Islamophobia for years. The man is racist and sexist. His jokes are not funny.

      • Dani says:

        Aster I completely agree with you. As for the way he goes after Islam…have you heard his views on Christianity? Bill Maher has no patience for any religion.

      • asdf says:

        Watch a video with an ex FBi where the FBI tells Maher that Israel doesnt need time and money from USA, and look at Maher’s face, Also the things he critcize muslims for,the same things are going on in Israel? did her ever give statistics about homophobia in Israel, Or how Israel is against gay marriage? is there sharia in Israel?

      • Persian says:

        I watch his show and I dont find him racist at all! He’s against all religions but has more of a concern against islam after 9/11 , I can relate to that considering out of all religions Islam has more ways to justify violence ( by the way you have to know that I am born in a muslim country and by default and I’m a muslim-born even though I can’t publicly announce that i don’t believe in it cause my government has the right to kill me for it)
        He has done a bad joke and apologized for it ! I wish many of the people angry with him watched his show more often to see how often he has educated POCs on there

  12. Rapunzel says:

    The left needs the voices of women and minorities, not old white guys who only pretend to be progressive. Replace Mahr with someone who will truly give the left a genuine voice.

    • Aster says:

      He consistently has minorities and women on his discussion panel and as guests. I agree we need more diversity but Maher is trying to be diverse unlike network and cable news shows. They are so white its gross. Still angry the Today show threw Tamron Hall over for that basic twit Megan Kelly.

  13. Stacy says:

    Bill’s not going anywhere. There are no advertisers to pull out their ads. People can complain all they want. Unless people end their paid subscriptions to HBO en masse and let HBO why, they won’t get rid of him. It has to seriously hurt them financially. He has stated this is why he wanted a pay channel. No advertisers to jump ship. And as it was told to me, Game of Thrones has a new season coming up. Ain’t nobody canceling. At least not enough to get him fired. I don’t agree with what he said. But given what our “President” has said and done, I have different priorities.

    • Merritt says:

      People can care about more than one issue. The whole “there are more important things going on in the world” excuse is pathetic at this point.

  14. Kiki says:

    Although I have said in many websites, that Bill Maher has apologized and just move on. I was foolish enough to not know the whole story and I just want to say for my stupid ways that I am sincerely apologize for what I have written on many website post. Because, after all… I watch Real Time with Bill Maher.

    That being said, the word that casually rolls off his tongue was inexcusable and really atrocious. Then to find out this morning that the HBO production apologized for him, I was really disappointed with Bill Maher. Sure, some things I disagree about his antics like degrading all religions because of his atheist beliefs to soccer is boring, but I love a good debate and that’s why I watch Real time with Bill Maher, until now… I am a proud, Caribbean Black woman and saying it with how anyone says it is downright hurtful and atrocious.

    This is probably why I like Last week Tonight with John Oliver more than Real Time with Bill Maher. Bill Maher really hurt me this time and I am ashamed of you. Hopefully, I want an apology from Bill Maher mouth.

  15. third ginger says:

    Maher is using a blunt instrument rather than a scalpel for satire. Far better topical comedy from Colbert, Oliver, Noah.

    • third ginger says:

      Also, wanted to add this. When a performer goes so quickly, instinctively to this slur, it must be on his mind, and he must be willing to use it for “comedy.”

    • Ksenia says:

      third ginger: Yes, Colbert, Oliver, and Noah are now my favorite way of getting the news: they summarize important political events w a sense of humor and irony. And they don’t single out and offend any groups of people—well, except for Trump fans, but they deserve it. I honestly watch these three “political comedians” more often than the news itself…they seem to make so more coherence of it, if not more sense, in such a nonsensical time. As for Maher, what he said was grotesque, and he should be ashamed; what bothers me is that he doesn’t seem to be so in the least. It makes me believe he uses that horrific word casually off screen, too, and for that I find no forgiveness for him. I’ve never found his smug style of comedy funny, either, though I’ve only watched him maybe twice.

  16. StormsMama says:

    Bill is crass and crude and all about his smug sense of righteousness. Always has been.

    Not justifying his use of the word at all, simply qualifying the horses mouth.

    I find it far more disturbing that Sasse (a republican senator from Nebraska) didn’t flinch anc immediately call him on it. I know if I were in that position I wouldn’t hesitate to say “hey that’s completely inappropriate and unnecessary”. But Sasse thought it was funny. To me that is the power of this moment. It’s like bill wanted to catch him out as a racist and it was that easy.
    And where is the disgust for Sasse? Somehow he gets to have it both ways. Laugh in real time and then say after it was so wrong. Hmm

    • Kim says:

      Yes, the senator’s response, laughing, going along. And jokes off the back of slavery and the white-dictated hierarchy within — house versus field. Will we ever see the end of the privileges of rich, white men…?

  17. perplexed says:

    I’m shocked he would think that’s a word he could use. Yikes. I don’t think you have to be even of average intelligence to realize that you shouldn’t use that word.

    I guess mileage varies on how you would react to this, especially in the Trump era when so many people are saying idiotic things, but I don’t think people should be surprised that other people would be surprised he’d use this word, since he has a reputation for being smart. Jerkish, but smart. So, I’m shocked, even given his reputation for being jerky. Even with his apology, I’m still shocked. Like, why, would an allegedly smart person think you could use that word? That word has a loaded history attached to it.

    I’d be less shocked if a truly stupid person used it or someone from Dancing with the Stars did.

  18. CK3 says:

    I was/am sickened more by those on the left that rushed to defend him, over the objections of many prominent PoC progressives and allies. I’m not giving racism on the left a pass because Trump is office because as a PoC, who is politically active and aware, I know that the left is only marginally better than the right when it comes to racial issues. They’re not spouting slurs, but asking for self reflection and confronting one’s own inherent bias is like pulling teeth.

    I was on a prominent Democratic message board and Maher was being defended. That’s a problem politically when you depend on the black vote to stay competitive. Maher isn’t strolling down neighborhood’s like mine bringing out the black vote.

    If this Maher thing proved anything, it’s that you can’t depend on white liberals when it comes to prioritizing (even briefly) issues of race over anything. Spending 1 minute condemning Maher wouldn’t have resulted in the Ted Nugent 2024 administration, but nope. He’s solidly anti-Trump and can’t be critiqued.

    • Annetommy says:

      You seem to be reading a lot into the words of one media personality. That means you can’t depend on white liberals? I try not to extrapolate sweeping generalisations from the rather stupid utterances of one person, but that probably means I’m not self reflective enough and haven’t confronted my own inherent bias.

  19. Jason says:

    “The context (not that it matters)…” leftism in a nutshell.

  20. Miss Melissa says:

    His mouth got him cancelled at abc, remember?

    His show was called “Politically Incorrect”, and he said something that was just that on air and abc cancelled it. He landed at HBO and “Real Time” was born. It’s basically the same show. This was more than a decade ago.

    HBO knew what they were getting with him and signed on. Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for him to say something stupid again.

  21. LouLou says:

    I am so horrified by the way too many white people on Twitter are telling Black folks to move on, it was offensive, but get over it, snowflake. We white people will never truly understand what that word can evoke, especially during this time in which violent racists are feeling empowered because the president seems to agree with them. We do not get a vote on the N-word. We need to stay out of it. The only thing we might be able to do is to tell other white people to stay out of it and attempt to explain to them why.

    I used to love Maher’s show because of the interesting panels, but I stopped watching a while ago because I saw too much sexism and racism. I had to get out.

  22. Nancy says:

    What makes this scenario even worse is the fact he dates black woman exclusively. So disrespectful and hurtful. I am white, so I don’t have to feel the pain with the word, but it embarrasses me that he could throw out the slur so easily. Remember the childhood saying, sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me, well guess again, words hurt. He says he’s sorry and I believe him, you can’t take back words spoken. The only one feeling relief now is Kathy Griffin…..he took the pressure off of her. Man, why do we all keep effing up on a regular. Bless the people of London.

    • Elsa says:

      As a black woman, him dating black women is hardly a compliment. Just look at the type of black women he “dates”, clearly it’s some kind of power trip for him to date these women who are from a lower socio-economic class than him and who “need” him (something he seems to get off on. You’d never see him with a michelle obama type).
      It makes me cringe. And they’re always a lot younger than him as well.
      He is sexist and a typical white liberal, in other words, a casual racist. He is just gross!!

    • Snowflake says:

      @ nancy
      What? Are you serious? Wow, that makes it even worse, imo

      • Nancy says:

        It is worse. I wish I hadn’t posted not knowing how to articulate my feelings.

  23. Ladybug says:

    Guess it is okay to everyone that Larry Whitmore called President Obama my N word at White House correspondence dinner!

    • Inkblotter says:

      It wasn’t “ok to everyone.” Larry Whitmore faced quite a bit of backlash for it. Why is it that people who bring things like this up seem to “forget” what happens afterwards?

    • Ladybug says:

      Obama and Michelle sure thought it was funny and we’re laughing.

      • Inkblotter says:

        What should they have done? Pitched a fit? If they had it would have been spun by the Obama haters into something entirely different. No matter what their reaction was it would have been scrutinized.

      • Elsa says:

        Maybe they laughed because they were uncomfortable. Like a nervous laughter.

    • AlmondJoy says:

      Larry WILMORE (not Whitmore) actually faced a lot of backlash. He used a different form of the word. He is also a black man. These are two completely different situations.

      But you knew that already.

      White people don’t get to use that word. Ever. It’s also not ok to make jokes about slavery.

      • Elsa says:

        Um….I am black and I dont care what color or race you are, it is never ok. And I hate when other black people say it’s different if black people use it. No, it is not! I am sick of black people using it to refer to each other.
        I don’t see Jews going around calling each other deragatory names or people of other races, do you hear Asians calling each other chinks and gooks? Like why would you even use that word? What for? It sounds stupid when you say we get to say it but you don’t…how old are we again? In this day and age we desperately need adults. We are lacking grown mature adults now more than ever.
        Sorry for the rant but I had to get that out it has been bothering me for awhile because I see my fellow black people repeating it like it makes sense. :/

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Elsa: My comment was in response to Ladybug’s comment but since you’re going off on me I’ll respond.

        I can respect your opinion but I’m going to disagree with you. If some black people have chosen to take the N word and change the meaning of it and use it their advantage, then I say more power to them. I’m sticking with my original point that white people are NEVER TO USE THIS WORD.

        If you would like address our fellow black people on not using the word at all, feel free to do so. But this story right here is about a white man who used it. That’s solely what I was addressing.

      • jwoolman says:

        When I was a kid back in the 1950s/1960s, there were a lot of ethnic standup comedians on tv. It was obvious to me even as a kid that you could tell ethnic jokes about your own ethnicity but not about somebody else’s. The whole feel was different.

      • jenn says:

        I can’t believe that in 2017 we’re trying to talk about why Larry Wilmore “gets” to use a word that Bill Maher doesn’t “get” to use. Are y’all even kidding right now.

        @AlmondJoy you’re doing the Lord’s work

    • Snowflake says:

      I get what Elsa is saying. A lot of liberals are racist. It’s more of a subtle racism, though, not out and out words but more actions. For example, to me the racism in the South is more overt, while in the Midwest, where I’m from, not as obvious. Growing up in Missouri, my dad’s friend would sometimes say black people jokes. But not in front of them. But here in the South, FL, I’ve heard stuff that you prob wouldn’t believe if I told you. It’s more blatant. I think Elsa is saying liberal racism is more subtle and I agree. Not that all liberals are racist. But if they are, it’s a more subtle form.

      Oops, posted in wrong spot. But anyway, didn’t​ Wilmore say nigg A? Not er. I thought the A version is ok when used from one black person to another? So wouldn’t that be like a white person saying, what’s up buddy to his friends? Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not black. I thought it was funny and cute that Wilmore felt comfortable enough to joke around. Shrug. I don’t think he should have suffered so much backlash from that

      • jenn says:

        @Snowflake Yeah, Wilmore greeted the President in hip-hop vernacular—etymologically it’s still off-limits to White people, but it’s disingenuous for anyone to act like it’s the “same” word. It is not.

        I think the joke was, Wilmore is very “staid” and “button-up” and kind of uncool, but he was also a writer and co-producer on maaany TV shows, including Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Really, he’s a contemporary authority on Black representation in mainstream pop culture. So yeah, it was cute when he said that to the President (“man, look at us—we made it in our respective fields! We made it!”), but it was also, to use the word @AlmondJoy used, “empowered.”

        White people freak out when we hear “code-switching,” though, I guess because it impresses upon us that there’s an “inner circle” we can’t and won’t be part of? I guess it’s about “colonialism,” and we freak out anytime we hear a word we can’t use, or a language we can’t understand. White conservatives are very “tribal” and tend to react to anything “foreign” with some degree of fear, but White liberals are maybe more like “Me! I wanna do it too!”—we want to join every club! and then be president of it—and we get bent out of shape and angry when we’re told we can’t. It’s totally A Thing.

        So Whites get mad for “different reasons” when we hear someone like Wilmore using That Other Word, I guess because, I don’t know, we want to be allowed to wear dashikis to Coachella? But it’s like… it’s just not our thing to have an opinion on? Oh, my god, I think I need to go for a walk

  24. Shambles says:

    “Barron Trump saw Bill Maher say the N-word and thought it was really his dad”

    Done. I just came to say that this was f*cking Olympic-level shade

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Loved that one. Also loved Kalidi’s “When people who have the confederate flag as their cover page say they were offended by Bill Maher.” As if the 96-percenters give a shit about racism. To a lot of the right (and sadly, to some on the left too) racism is ‘free speech that people overreact to’.

    • Snowflake says:

      Yeah, that was amazing shade!

  25. Littlestar says:

    To think there was a time I liked this man. Weird, the n-word has never so casually rolled off my tongue in any circumstance.

  26. QQ says:

    🙄😒😐I halfway almost wish ya’ll wouldnt have bothered to cover this sh*t if solely so that Us the black people that have to CONSTANTLY AND CONSISTENTLY DEAL WITH MICROAGGRESSIONS CONSTANTLY AND ON A DAILY BASIS didnt also have to see/defend/read all This frankly offensive B*llshit parsing of our so called Cavalry, The Allies n’ Friends telling us, Nay Deciding for us when and what we get to be offended by and what punishment we (ya’ll) can live with and what’s the best course of action and what constitutes implicit bias and Bigotry and what is a Joke and what should we all be keekeeing and tee hee heeing at (i literally have a Whole clip in my poclet about the sort of sh*t that passes as funny in Caucasia TBH and the point came back twice in at least two black women podcasts recently.. so we see this always) and what kinda lovely great Ally this strident whiny voiced drying f*ckboy is to us cause he sleeps with black women, cause some of you (a great surprising, shamefully so bunch) are pretty much reaching for the stars to defend this.

    F*ck Bill (though Karrine AND Wayne Brady told us about this man a Long while ago and for me he’s been cancelled) he swears he has a “Pass” or he is Too down for the cause and TBH He can Keep it for-e-ver His little “i was tired” simply makes me presuppose this rolls off his tongue fairly frequently and his guard was down also a Not B*llshit aside f*ck every f*cking turdburger that laughed in that audience and Bill Sasse coming back to clean up his ass after PR got ugly

    Smdh, I sometimes dont know why I try to swing by here sometimes when I made the pact with myself after Election Night that I got the message loud and clear!

    But here since black women always doing free work for yall, HERE benefit from a little thread, don’t aim to be Obtuse for free.99 or strong and wrong on purpose like The Tweetler in Chief

    • Ayra. says:

      I’m truly so tired of it all. I’m tired of seeing people try to defend this type of behavior, try to justify it, “oh, he’s donated money to this and that” – “he’s dated black women” – “he’s spoken on black causes”…
      I don’t even bat an eyelash at seeing this things anymore, the racist attacks, the comments, the justifications, the excuses.. it’s almost becoming the norm, how sad is that?

      • Lady Rain says:

        Agree…f*ck Bill Maher and his racist faux-liberal schtick, and those who support his latest example (among many others) of hatefulness for real.

    • Snowflake says:

      Yeah, that was not cool at all. So easily he said it, then just normal behavior after he said it like he didn’t even do anything outrageous. I was shocked, how can he think that ok to say, AND, during a Filmed interview. How can he and others not realize how inappropriate that is to say? I’m sorry you have to see all this excuses and b.s. others are saying.

      Also, what network was it that wouldn’t let Nick Canon go on or perform, something, cause they were worried he was going to say the n word?

  27. Joannie says:

    I really dislike that word. However we are all racist no matter the color of our skin. To say you aren’t is a lie to yourself.

  28. Kath says:

    It is never acceptable for a white person to use that word and I was surprised and disappointed that Bill used it to refer to himself as someone too wimpy to “work in the fields”.

    That being said – the predictable internet outrage is exactly why Trump won and why progressive politics is going down the toilet.

    Bill Maher is your “enemy”, really?

    How many people commenting here actually watched the show live?

    By carving ourselves up into ever-smaller slices based on identity politics and internet outrage – we liberals are shooting ourselves in the foot.

    In the age of Twitter pile-ons, context doesn’t matter. Intention doesn’t matter. Nuance doesn’t matter.

    Bill Maher has many faults, but I really don’t think racism is one of them. As someone who doesn’t live in the US, the only reason I know who a lot of black intellectuals are is because they are on Bill’s show on a weekly basis. He has been consistent in going after brutal cops and the people who support them. He calls out bigots all the time.

    No, that doesn’t excuse his own use of bigoted language – but he was attempting to make fun of himself after Senator Sasse’s (very weird) use of the phrase “work in the fields”.

    And as for the ‘Islamophobia’ charge… all he is saying is that we should be free to examine and criticize Islam alongside any other religion. Progressives have been too complicit in going after Christian fundamentalism but letting Islamists off the hook. I’ve been in lecture theatres in the UK where the student union has insisted on segregating the audience, FFS.

    Islamophobia does not = legitimate criticism of illiberal values.

    • Persian says:

      I Agree , the joke was in bad taste but Bill Maher has been a platform for many of educated POCs
      And he has apologized for it
      And his criticism of islam seems very fair to me , He’s not streotyping but he says that Islam is a religion that justifies violence in a holy way compared to other religions which is a fair assesment (considering i lived in a country where the education system is very islamic-based)

      • fiorucci says:

        Persian, “not stereotyping” has been my impression too, though I don’t watch him that much. He goes after belief systems and ideologies, not making assumptions about individual people. I wonder if he will invite some guests on to talk about this incident with him (prove he’s open to being educated about it) or just move on.

    • aang says:

      Well said. I watch Bill Maher every week. His panel is pretty diverse. Plus he is really strong on highlighting climate change.

  29. jwoolman says:

    In his mind, he probably thought it was okay because he was using it to refer to himself. Guess what? It’s not.

    He probably does use that joke privately often enough for it to pop into his head so easily.

    Maybe he needs to have a show with people who will explain repeatedly to him why it’s not okay. In detail. From many different viewpoints. That would be an interesting show.

    It’s worth remembering, though, that you can’t always go by language to judge racism. At least I’ve known people who were racist to varying degrees who would never use the N-word. There is something else involved. Maybe the key in Maher’s case is to confront him on why he thinks he has a “pass” to use it.

  30. detritus says:

    Just a thought, but Maher looks like His Bigly Cheetos face stretched over a baby chestburster.
    the hair is so eeerily similar.

  31. Christine says:

    Ok, first things first: Maher should never have used that word. Never. Ever. Ever.

    Now that’s out the way let’s acknowledge that his apology was sincere and measured. He took full accountability for his words and accepts the blame (which is more than can be said for your hideous Fake-Baked President when he ‘apologised’ for his Tic-Tac escapades!).

    Now, as a UK liberal (and feminist atheist I should point out) I’m incredibly frustrated by a number of the comments below. Firstly, Maher is not an “Islamophobe” as many have stated. Indeed Maher himself has said on many occasions that “Islamophobe” is a silly little word that conflates fear (“phobe”) with hate. He is not SCARED of Islam he’s just repulsed by the very illiberal attitudes and actions carried out in the name Islam.

    It’s important to point atheists (and I speak as one) don’t just pick on Islam. I am disgusted by both Christianity and Islam but not equally. I grew up surrounded by Catholics and for all their hypocrisy and sectarian nonsense only one religion today encourages FGM, that women wear veils over their faces, that gay people should be thrown from the tops of buildings, that the appropriate response and punishment for drawing cartoons of the Prophet is murder. Indeed, only one religion thinks the appropriate response for women who get raped is death! Now I acknowledge that Christianity has a pretty repulsive history of misogyny and homophobia BUT NOT to the same degree in the 21st century and kudos to Bill Maher for pointing that out regularly on his show and the hypocrisy of liberals on this issue.

    Now do I think that it’s British or American Muslims fault? Absolutely not. As Maher has said they lead a “boutique Muslim” experience in the West. Women can work, vote, drive and in some cases marry whomever they choose (or choose not to in some cases). But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Maher has always defended those in the Muslim community who stand up and fight against the fascistic elements of Islam and unfortunately when people call Maher an ‘Islamophobe’ you cut off the discussion that moderate Muslims want to have. So please liberals, stop getting offended by Maher and start getting outraged by REAL misogyny and homophobia. Y’know they things liberals are supposed to be outraged by…

    Also, please don’t lose sight of the fact that Maher is one of the most consistent anti-Trump voices at the moment – y’know your RACIST President who will actually do a lot worse things than use the N-word. So please, from a UK liberal, learn to pick your battles America. Learn to dial down the ‘outrage machine’ because if you don’t you’re encouraging people who might be on the fence about Trump to vote for him because they love to watch you cry more than they love him. They loved watching you cry on election night 2016 and they’ll love watching you cry on election night 2020 (if the Orange Mussolini makes it that long!). But please, please, please don’t let them. Otherwise you will inflict President Baby Fists on us. Again!

    With love,
    A Feminist, Atheist UK Liberal (and first time commenter)

  32. Frigga says:

    Maher is a moron. Shouldn’t these people know that the n-word is a no-no by now??

  33. skc says:

    Oh stop. Is the collective mentality of the planet actually at the elementary school level? Is not the infantile use of the phrase “n -word” embarrassing? Not until the use of this noun is deemed offensive by all people, including African- Americans, should it rise to the level of a career ending offense.

  34. skc says:

    Oh stop. Is the collective mentality of the planet actually at the elementary school level? Is not the infantile use of the term “n -word” embarrassing? Not until the use of this noun by everyone, including African- Americans, is deemed offensive should it rise to the level of a career ending offense.