Bill Maher accused of making fried chicken joke to black Republican congressman

Comedian Bill Maher was accused of racism after making a fried chicken joke to a black Republican during an interview on Friday’s HBO show of “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd came on the show to discuss the border wall, which he opposes. The host went on to ask the congressman why he remains a member of the GOP and sides with “traitor” President Trump.

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“I'm a Republican because I believe in limited government,” Hurd responded, prompting Maher to interject and accuse Republicans of not actually supporting smaller government.

“I'm just asking why you're Republican? Because they're not good at the debt, that was their big thing. You said limited government, they don't do that.” Maher said. “What's in it for you? What is in the Republican Party for you? You were in the CIA!”

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In this Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, photo, first-term Republican Rep. Will Hurd, right, of Texas, talks with a supporter at a campaign office, in San Antonio.

In this Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, photo, first-term Republican Rep. Will Hurd, right, of Texas, talks with a supporter at a campaign office, in San Antonio. (AP)

Hurd responded: “I was in the CIA for almost a decade. I was the dude in the back alleys at 4 o'clock in the morning collecting intelligence on threats to the homeland.”

That’s when Maher made the joke. “That's where you'd collect it, huh? Wow. By the Popeyes Chicken?”

“That's where you'd collect it, huh? Wow. By the Popeyes Chicken?”

— Bill Maher

Following the exchange, people on Twitter accused Maher of making a racist joke to the congressman.

“Here's Bill Maher lobbing a clearly racist joke to GOP Congressman Will Hurd, asking him if he gathered undercover intel for the CIA out ‘by the Popeye's Chicken,’” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck tweeted.

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“Bill Maher is gonna be Bill Maher. Nobody's canceling HBO over this, so he's just gonna keep on being Bill Maher and accusing a black congressman of gathering intelligence behind a Popeyes Chicken,” tweeted Gabriel Malor.

“Bill Maher insults black CIA vet by suggesting he picked up tips ‘behind the Popeye's Chicken’ same day as Ralph Northam admits he submitted racist af blackface Klan photo to yearbook - it's almost like this is all a game to them,” tweeted the Federalist publisher Ben Domenech.

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Maher has long been criticized for what some have described as racially charged language on his show.

About two years ago, Maher faced calls to have his show scrapped after he said the N-word during an interview with Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse. He apologized for the use of the word that time.