On Friday night Bill Maher said something that has set off a firestorm of criticism.
The comedian had Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska on Real Time to promote his book “The Vanishing American Adult,” and the two were talking about teens and maturity when the topic of adults dressing in Halloween costumes came up. Maher asked the Senator if they did that in Nebraska.
Sasse said no, “It’s frowned upon. We don’t do that quite as much.”
“I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” Maher replied.
“You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” said the senator.
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n****r,” Maher answered.
Sasse was quiet for a moment.
“No, it’s a joke,” Maher said.
And why did the audience think it was okay to laugh? And Ben Sasse doesn't even flinch. What is happening in the world?
— deray mckesson (@deray) June 3, 2017
It didn’t take long for the clip of that interview to go viral with plenty of criticism pouring in condemning the language.
Sasse has since addressed the incident on Twitter.
“I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines,” he said. “But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough.”
He wishes that he had spoken up at the time.
“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.”
There is another side to this coin however.
To many, the fact that Bill Maher himself said it was a joke seems to be good enough.
Some have said the fact that he seemed to be making a joke means it wasn’t a racist comment but judging by the way he is trending on social media, it appears that wasn’t good enough for all.
What are your thoughts on Bill Maher’s comments? Share your opinions below.