HBO talk show host Bill Maher could soon be out of a job after he wantonly used the N-word on his “Real Time” program, prompting National Action Network (NAN) head Rev. Al Sharpton to censure Maher and call for his resignation.
“Just because Bill Maher is liberal and our friend, you don’t give him a pass,” Sharpton said during a NAN rally in Harlem. “You must have one standard. It’s wrong and we’re calling him out on it. You don’t get a pass because we’re friends. You cannot allow folk to act like there’s anything funny in any context about using that word.”
On social media, self-described Black Lives Matter activists have also turned out in droves to demand that HBO part ways with Maher, with one commenter opining: “He should have been terminated over his transphobia. If he gets away with this blatant racial comment then @HBO is fine with racism.”
Maher made the odious comment during a Friday night interview with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). When Maher suggested that he needed to make time to visit Nebraska more often, Sasse said, “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
That’s when Maher made the questionable quip. “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n***a,” he joked, causing Sasse to offer up a polite, uncomfortable smile as the audience audibly expressed their outrage. Maher was quick to point out that his comment was “just a joke” but nobody was having it.
“Neither history nor comedy gives you the right to use a vile slur as a violent one-liner,” wrote NAACP president and CEO Cornell Brooks on Twitter.
On Saturday, a spokesman for HBO condemned Maher’s comment as “completely inexcusable and tasteless,” but the network has yet to indicate whether it will listen to its outraged audience and can Maher.