On Friday’s episode of Real Time, Bill Maher referred to himself as a “house nigger” during a conversation with Nebraska senator Ben Sasse. Maher faced immediate backlash following the remark, with the host apologizing the following day. HBO also pledged to censor the joke from all future broadcasts.
“Senator Franken believes that what Bill Maher said was inappropriate and offensive, which is why he made the decision not to appear on the next episode of Real Time,” Franken’s spokesperson told the Huffington Post on Monday. “He was glad to see Bill, who the Senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.”
Ice Cube is scheduled to appear on Maher’s Real Time panel on this Friday’s episode, as is former Bernie Sanders press secretary Symone Sanders, who told Huffington Post, “I thought Maher’s comment, Ben Sasse’s reaction and the crowd’s applause were all equally distasteful, inappropriate and offensive. I am glad Maher too recognized as such and issued an apology.”
Despite calls for HBO to fire Maher from Chance the Rapper and Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson, the network has no further plans to punish Maher, TMZ reports, and none of the venues hosting Maher’s upcoming comedy dates have canceled the performances.