Let's get one thing out of the way: If you're not black, you do not get to use the N-word. Period. Unfortunately (for him), it looks like TV personality, comedian and political commentator Bill Maher missed the memo.

On Friday night (June 2), Maher was interviewing Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse on his HBO show, Real Time With Bill Maher, when he used the word—and no, he wasn't quoting anyone—during a conversation about potentially visiting the mid-western state.

"You're welcome [to come visit]," Sasse offered, adding, "We'd love to have you work in the fields with us."

"Work in the fields? Senator, I'm a house n---er," Maher replied, quickly adding, "It's a joke!"

Since dropping the racial slur and slave-related "joke" so flippantly on national television, the public has come out in droves to drag the comedian on social media. See some of the reactions, below:

Sasse has since spoken up about the uncomfortable and offensive moment on Twitter, writing, "I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines. But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough."

"Here’s what I wish I’d been quick enough to say in the moment," he added. "'Hold up, why would you think it’s OK to use that word? The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It’s therefore an attack on the American Creed. Don't use it.'"

Meanwhile, HBO has released the following statement on Maher's behavior:

"Bill Maher's comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless. We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show."

Maher has yet to respond to the controversy.

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