Many are demanding HBO fire comedian Bill Maher after he used a racial slur on his show.
Maher sparked controversy on June 2 during a conversation with "Real Time With Bill Maher" guest, Republican Nebraska Sen. Benjamin Sasse, HuffPost reports.
When Sasse encouraged Maher to "work in the fields with us," the TV show personality replied, "Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n*****!"
Maher insisted it was a joke and some audience members laughed. Others groaned. Sasse looked uncomfortable, but did not comment on the remark at the time -- although he would late apologetically express regret he did not, reports The Guardian.
Social media users were certainly vocal about their opinions after the show ended -- and many were angry.
Even those usually on good terms with Maher condemned the comedian.
"Bill Maher decided to get on television last night and sanitize and normalize the N-word," said the Rev. Al Sharpton. "Just because Bill Maher is liberal and our friend, you don’t give him a pass."
"Our credibility as an organization rests on our fierce commitment to fight for the kinder and fairer world of which Anne Frank dreamed," added the Anne Frank Center on Twitter. "We cannot give Bill Maher a pass."
Since then, both Maher and HBO have issued an apology.
"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," said Maher. "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."
It appears Maher's remorseful statements are too little, too late for many.
"Bill Maher has got to go," tweeted DeRay McKesson, a Black Lives Matter activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate. "There are no explanations that make this acceptable."
Not everybody agrees Maher should be fired.
"He shouldn't have said it but it was clearly a joke," wrote one Daily Mail reader. "I'm conservative and can't stand bill but he should get a pass here."
"I don't always like him but they hired him specifically because he is unpredictable and says things like this," wrote another. "For God's sake his last show was called 'Politically Incorrect'. That is his shtick. Although I found his comment tasteless and I wouldn't use the term I know why he said it to the person he said it to. He also did not make a threat on the president's life."