Bill Maher is known for his provacative commentary, but during a recent interview on HBO's Real Time, he seemed to have taken things a bit too far when he casually used the n-word when speaking with Sen. Ben Sasse.
According to The Hill, the controversy all started while they discussed the maturity of modern American teenagers as one of the themes in Sasse's new book The Vanishing American Adult. Referencing adults in his home state of California, Maher said they put less effort into dressing up for Halloween, and went on to ask Sasse if that was also the case in Cornhusker State.
"It's frowned upon," Sasse replied. "We don't do that quite as much."
"I've got to get to Nebraska more," Maher responded, and from here, things took a major turn.
"You're welcome," Sasse said. "We'd love to have you work in the fields with us," to which Maher cringingly said, in a joking tone, "Work in the fields? Senator, I'm a house n***a."
While many viewers were shocked by the nonchalance of his offensive words, much of the in-studio audience seemed to find them hilarious, as most of them appeared to roar in applause, while a faint few can be heard moaning in discomfort.
Take a look at the clip, below:
Maher eventually went on to explain to the audience that he meant the comment jokingly, and while Sasse smiled in response, he later tweeted that he was "cringing."
Sasse sent out a series of tweets recently, addressing the controversy, outlining what he wish he had said in the moment.
Social media was also pretty unanimous in their opinions on the gesture:
Recap the moment President Obama was racially disrespected in the BET Breaks video, above.
(Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)