Bill Maher: Read about his N-word controversy, his apology and more!

Bill Maher’s apology for use of the N-word

American comedian, 61, Bill Maher gave an apology for use of the N-word during the last episode of his HBO show ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ on 2nd June 2017.  On 9th June 2017, he was interviewing Georgetown University Sociology Professor Michael Eric Dyson. During that time, Bill Maher said:

“I want you to school me. I did a bad thing. … There is a lot of bulls–t apologizing in America, and I am against that … [but] this was appropriate.”

Bill Maher continued:

“For black folks, that word — I don’t care who you are — has caused pain. I’m not here to do that. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t said in malice, it wasn’t. If it brought back pain to people, that’s why I apologize freely, and I reiterate it tonight. That’s sincere. I’m not that big of an a–hole.”

Dyson then went on to discuss how white privilege could be interesting and at the same time tricky. He said that he does not feel that people think that Bill Maher is a racist for using the N-word. Explaining his point, Dyson said:

“What they thought was, ‘If even Bill Maher can at some level capitulate to a level of unconscious privilege, then the rest of us are in a serious spot,'”

Bill Maher re-apologized and said:

“This happened once. A guy said a weird thing, I made a bad joke. Yes, it was wrong and I own up to that. But it’s not like I’ve made a career of this. It’s not like I went out there last Friday and said, ‘Oh, I’m going to break some new ground tonight.’ It happened, and it was wrong, and people make mistakes. We’re all sinners.”

Source: (Bill Maher with Michael Eric Dyson)

What was the N-scandal of Bill Maher?

On his show ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ on 2nd June 2017, the comedian was in conversation with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. They were talking about how the adults in California still dress up to celebrate Halloween. Sasse said that this was not the case in Nebraska and invited Bill Maher to come and work in the fields with them. Bill Maher immediately said:

“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—er.”

Sasse gave a brief chuckle but appeared taken aback by Maher’s language. The audience too gave a mixed reaction and Bill realized that something wrong has been said and quickly added:

“No, it’s a joke.”

This was followed by outrage on the social media. Maher’s use of the n-word was heavily criticised. New York Times noted that the word was not censored in the repeat telecast of the HBO show at midnight. The next day, Maher issued an apology. He said:

“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.” 

Sasse too felt bad that he had kept quiet at what Maher had said. He tweeted:

“Here’s what I wish I’d been quick enough to say in the moment: ‘Hold up, why would you think it’s OK to use that word?’ The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It’s therefore an attack on the American Creed. Don’t use it.”

HBO issued a statement to ABC News in which they said that Maher’s use of the word was ‘completely inexcusable and tasteless’ and promised to ‘remove the deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show’.

Democratic strategist Symone Sanders also condemned Maher’s comment and said:

“As a white person in America, you would’ve been the master, the slave owner … It was mostly black women who were enslaved in the house, who were raped, who were beaten daily, day in and day out. They endured physical and mental abuse. For a lot of people in America, that was like slap in the face to the black community, particularly to black women.”

Source: Omaha World-Herald (Bill Maher with Ben Sasse)

Confrontation of Bill Maher by Ice Cube

Later in the 9th June show, African-American rapper and actor Ice Cube appeared as the guest and confronted Bill Maher. He said that Bill Maher and the white people should not get too comfortable with saying the n-word, even if done without a hint of racism. Bill Maher was reminded that he has been bucking up against the n-word line and this should be a teachable moment for Maher. Ice Cube also questioned Bill Maher:

“What made you think that it was cool to say that?”

Maher could only repeat his apology and mention that he had said the line without thinking in reaction to a comment by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse about working in the fields.

Ice Cube went on to say:

“I still think you need to get to the root of the psyche because I think there’s a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they’re a little too familiar, or they think they’re too familiar. Or, guys that, you know, might have a black girlfriend or two that made them Kool-Aid every now and then, and then they think they can cross the line. And they can’t. You know, it’s a word that has been used against us. It’s like a knife, man. You can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool. It’s when you use it as a weapon against us, by white people, and we’re not going to let that happened again … because it’s not cool … That’s our word, and you can’t have it back.”

He continued:

“… It’s not cool because when I hear my homie say it, it don’t feel like venom. When I hear a white person say it, it feel like that knife stabbing you, even if they don’t mean to.”

Ice Cube did forgive Bill Maher in the end and accepted his apology but not without giving him a stern solemn lecture.

Source: Washington Post (Bill Maher with Ice Cube)

Short Bio on Bill Maher

Multi-talented Bill Maher is an American comedian, political commentator, and television host. He is best known for the political talk show  Real Time with Bill Maher and Politically Incorrect. More Bio…