Bill Maher calls his use of the N-word a ‘comedian’s mistake’

Bill Maher uses N-word live on TV
WATCH: Bill Maher uses N-word live on TV.

Bill Maher faced a flood of criticism for using the N-word in a TV interview with Nebraska Junior Sen. Ben Sasse on Real Time with Bill Maher back in June.

Maher and Sasse were speaking about how adults still put on costumes for Halloween when Sasse said that doesn’t happen in his state.

READ MORE: Bill Maher apologizes for using the N-word, but Ice Cube had something to say

“I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” Maher responded.

“You’re welcome, we’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” Sasse said.

“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n*****. No, it’s a joke,” Maher then said, looking toward the audience.

READ MORE: Bill Maher will return to HBO this week after using racial slur

During an interview with the New York Times on July 15, Maher insisted that he was sincerely apologetic about the incident but he doesn’t agree that he should have to make up for anything else.

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“We don’t have to grovel, and we don’t have to admit things that aren’t true,” Maher said. “When Ice Cube said something about my telling black jokes, I wasn’t going to be: ‘Oh, well, I made one mistake; I might as well admit mistakes I haven’t made.’ I’ve never made black jokes. I’ve made jokes about racists. But my fan base knows that, so it never went anywhere.”

“I think most people understood that it was a comedian’s mistake, not a racist mistake,” Maher said.

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Maher offered an apology on his show during an interview with Georgetown Prof. Michael Dyson one week after he used the racial slur on live TV, saying, “I did a bad thing.”

READ MORE: HBO’s Bill Maher faces backlash after saying the N-word during TV interview

“It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t said in malice, if it brought back pain to people,” Maher said on June 9. “That’s why I apologize freely and I reiterate it tonight.”

Dyson then set the context for Maher’s words, explaining that “black people said, it’s not as if black people in the house were any better off than the people in the field, both of them were subject to slave, dominance, hegemony, hatred and the like, as a result of that, people think that’s insensitive.”

Rapper Ice Cube was also part of a panel on Maher’s show on June 9. While he accepted Maher’s apology, he explained a little further why the late-night host’s words were offside.

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“I think it’s a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they’re a little too familiar, or they think they’re a little too familiar,” he said.

WATCH BELOW: Ice Cube confronts Bill Maher for using the N-word

Ice Cube confronts Bill Maher for using the N-word
Ice Cube confronts Bill Maher for using the N-word

“Every now and then, they think they can cross the line, and they can’t.”

Ice Cube went on to say that white people have used the N-word against black people “like a knife,” and that they’re “not going to let that happen again.”

“That’s our word now,” he said. “And you can’t have it back.”

—With files from Jesse Ferreras