Late-night comedian Bill Maher sparked immediate condemnation from all sides of the political spectrum Friday after he used a racial epithet during an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.
During a segment in the show, Sasse — who was promoting his new book, The Vanishing American Adult — invited Maher to visit Nebraska after the two talked how adults in California still dress up for Halloween. "We’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” the senator told the comic.
"Work in the fields?" Maher replied. "Senator, I am a house [expletive]."
The remark received a mixture of groans and laughter from audience members. Sasse, who chuckled at the comment, did not address it. Maher quickly asserted, "It's a joke."
Reaction on Twitter, as expected, was swift and fierce:
Kathy Griffin at home right now, thankfully watching Bill Maher like pic.twitter.com/kvTS1mXRDg— Behdad Sami (@iambdsami) June 3, 2017
Bill Maher gotta go.— Nina Parker (@MzGossipGirl) June 3, 2017
For me, the jig has been up on Bill Maher for a long time. So, nah.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 3, 2017
Maher, who is in his 15th season hosting Real Time, is no stranger to controversy. He defended his invitation to bring Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative provocateur, to his show despite protests. Maher lost his ABC show, Politically Incorrect, after a much-criticized comment in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Contributing: Bill Keveney