Bill Maher apologized Saturday for using a racial slur on his HBO show "Real Time" as the cable network responded to growing backlash after the host used the N-word, with the network calling his comment “inexcusable.”
Maher wrote in a statement Saturday that he regrets using the slur to refer to himself as a house slave during a segment on his show Friday night. He wrote that he slept poorly Friday night after realizing he shouldn't have made the remark.
Maher was having a back-and-forth with Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., when the senator invited the liberal talk-show host to visit his state.
“We’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” Sasse joked.
Maher responded, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house [expletive].”
Some in the audience groaned and a few clapped. Maher appeared to quickly reassure the audience and said, “No, it’s a joke.”
“Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless," HBO officials told the Hollywood Reporter. “We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”
The New York Times reported that the word was not cut out during HBO’s rebroadcast at midnight.
Sasse did not address the comment and the two moved on to another subject. Sasse faced some criticism on social media for not quickly condemning the host’s comments.
Deray Mckesson, an activist for Black Lives Matter, took to Twitter, saying, “But really, @BillMaher has got to go. There are no explanations that make this acceptable.”
Maher was criticized last month for comments he made about President Trump and his daughter Ivanka.
The host made his most recent controversial comments the same week Kathy Griffin faced fallout for a video showing her posing with a likeness of Trump’s severed head.
Griffin said the video was meant to be a pointed comeback to Trump's remark last summer that journalist Megyn Kelly had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of wherever."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.