Comedian Bill Maher has been taking increasing fire since uttering the N-word on the air during a live broadcast of his long-running HBO show, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Friday night. Reaction has been swift, with prominent musicians, among others, calling on HBO to cancel the show.
The word came up while Maher was interviewing Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska. At one point Sasse invited Maher to Nebraska, saying, “we’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
“Work in the fields?” replied Maher. “Senator, I’m a house n—. No, it’s a joke.”
After HBO denounced Maher’s use of the epithet on Saturday, calling it “completely inexcusable and tasteless,” Maher issued an apology, 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.”
Later Saturday, rapper Killer Mike, who has appeared on Maher’s show several times, took to Twitter to defend Maher after being pressed by fans on Twitter to comment on the situation, writing: “black have BIGGER things than N— to concern our selves with: Black Banks, Gentrification, Economics & Trade Education. Love, My Nigga.”
Killer Mike, who makes up one half of duo Run the the Jewels along with rapper El-P, who is white, has been outspoken on politics. He was a fervent and public supporter of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 election, interviewing Sanders in his Atlanta barbershop for a six-part series leading up to the vote.
On Saturday, as several of his followers engaged him directly about Maher on social media, Killer Mike replied thusly: