Comedian Bill Maher used a racial slur while interviewing Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) Friday evening on his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher said he should visit the senator's home state of Nebraska more often. "You're welcome," Sasse replied. "We'd love to have you work in the fields with us." Maher answered: "Work in the fields? Senator, I'm a house n****r. No, it's a joke."
Maher soon came under broad criticism online, including calls for his resignation.
Sasse said Saturday he should have challenged Maher instead of responding with silence to a word that is "an attack on universal human dignity." Defending free speech "comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word," he wrote on Twitter. "Me just cringing last night wasn't good enough."