One week after he used the n-word in an interview with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, HBO’s Bill Maher apologized to his first guest on ‘Real Time’ Friday, sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson.
“I did a bad thing,” Maher told Dyson after social media users expressed their outrage and some called for him to be ousted from HBO. “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. If it brought back pain to people then that’s why I apologized freely and I reiterated it tonight.”
Dyson proceeded to school the man on why what he said was so offensive. “Even if your intent is certainly not to cause any pain or horror. You do know that the use of that word that triggered… the way in which black people feel on their hunches because of the resurfacing of racism.”
“We’re all evolving at the pace of day by day,” Maher said, making it clear that the use of the word was “wrong”. “This was just a mistake. This was just a dumb interception.”
Later in the show, rapper Ice Cube explained to Maher that “like a knife,” the word can either be used as a weapon or as a tool. “I think this is a teachable moment not just to you, but the people watching right now,” Ice Cube said.
Maher replied, “I think the people watching right now are saying, ‘That point has been made.'”
“Not by me,” Ice Cube said. “I made it. I’m done. We can laugh now.”
Guest and activist Symone Sanders said that Maher’s comments were a “slap in the face to black America.” She then added, “It’s a teachable moment for everyone to understand that it is more than just a word. Black people are literally fighting the systems of white supremacy and institutionalized racism every single day.”
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