Comedian Bill Maher used a racial epithet Friday night during an interview with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Sasse was promoting his book, “The Vanishing American Adult” on Maher’s HBO show, “Real Time.”
The two were discussing teenagers and maturity when Maher mentioned that adults dress up for Halloween in California. He then asked Sasse if people do that in Nebraska.
“It’s frowned upon. We don’t do that quite as much,” Sasse said.
“I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” Maher replied.
“You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” the senator added.
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n****r,” Maher said.
Some audience members groaned while others laughed. Sasse briefly kept quiet.
“No, it’s a joke,” Maher said, breaking the silence.
The exchange sparked outrage on social media, where tweets poured in condemning Maher’s behavior. Some called for his firing.
“But really, @BillMaher has got to go. There are no explanations that make this acceptable,” tweeted Deray McKesson, activist and Black Lives Matter leader.
“Bill Maher must be fired immediately for his racism and belittling the struggle of millions of black Americans,” wrote blogger Jack Posobiec.
On Twitter, Sasse replied to a tweet from a user praising the interview but did not mention the racial slur.