The Rev. Al Sharpton called HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher’s use of the N-word during a recent episode of the cable talk show “disgraceful” and demanded that Maher “be held accountable” for his actions.
On Maher’s show Friday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the evening’s guest, and during the senator’s discussion with Maher, the senator invited the host to work alongside him in the fields of Nebraska.
Maher shockingly shot back, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n*****.”
Sasse appeared taken aback by Maher’s use of the word, but Maher did not immediately apologize.
As a result, HBO released a statement condemning Maher’s language, which said, “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.”
Speaking to TMZ about the incident, Sharpton said, “It was disgraceful. I have a lot of respect for Bill. He’s a friend — been on his show many times — but he is totally wrong. This is outrageous. He must be held accountable. There is no joke about using the N-word.”
“You expect that people who are friends to be held to an even higher standard,” he continued. “I’m very disappointed in Bill and I think to just say it and apologize and not have some accountability is not enough.”
While being filmed on the streets of New York City, Sharpton became further enraged over Maher’s casual use of the word.
“How do you get a pass for saying something. … They weren’t even talking about race!” he exclaimed. “He just out of nowhere took this — you felt you got so comfortable with us that you can denigrate us? Imagine if I got on my show and had said that about the whatever the word is for Italians, or for Irish, or for Jews, or for gays. No one would have said ‘Apologize tomorrow,’ you’ve got to have one standard,” Sharpton continued.
“We can’t accept that,” Sharpton said, wagging his finger.
Maher apologized in a statement the day after the offending episode aired, which read:
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.