LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Bill Maher is facing criticism for his use of a racial slur during a discussion with a Republican senator on his HBO talk show Friday night.
Maher was speaking with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska during a segment of his “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Sasse joked that he would like to have Maher visit Nebraska and work in the fields, which prompted Maher to use a slur in a joke that he was a house slave.
The comedian immediately waved off audience groans.
Activists including the Rev. Al Sharpton quickly criticized Maher and it remained a top-ranked topic on Twitter on Saturday morning.
Sasse wrote Saturday that he wished he had immediately criticized Maher for using the term.
Maher apologized in a statement on Saturday.
“Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show,” Maher said in a statement provided to CBS News. “Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)