This week, Bill Maher faced a tidal wave of criticism for his usage of a racial slur during a recent episode of Real Time. As of now, Maher still maintains employment at HBO, but he spent most of Friday’s Real Time repenting for his sins. He began the episode by issuing an apology: I did a bad thing. For black folks, that word, I don’t care who you are, it’s caused pain,” Maher said. “It doesn’t matter that it was not said in malice, it caused pain and that’s why I apologized.” Afterward, he was publicly dressed down by Ice Cube.
The veteran rapper, who appeared in studio as a guest, began by telling Maher, “Sometimes you sound like a redneck trucker.” He then asked, “What made you think it was cool to say that?”
Cube acknowledged Maher’s apology, but added that “we need to get to the root of the psyche. Because I think it’s a lot of guys out there, who cross the line ‘cause they a little too familiar or they think they too familiar. Or its guys that y’know, might have a black girlfriend or two that made them some Kool-Aid every now and then. And they think they can cross the line. And they can’t. It’s a word that’s been used against us. It’s like a knife, man. You can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool. It’s been used as a weapon, against us. By white people. And we not gon’ let that happen again. By nobody. Because it’s not cool.”
“So, I like your show—and it’s a great show—I just don’t know sometimes, is it a political show, or is it a show about jokes?” Cube continued. “This, to me, is a political show. And I think you just have to not step on some of the political messages that you sayin’ with a joke, because some things just ain’t funny, you know what I mean? This is real right here that we’re going through. And I’m not tryin’ to get on your case, Bill. I’m tellin’ you: I like your show and I like you. But I think this is a teachable moment, not just to you but to the people who are watching right now.” When Maher told Cube, “I think the people who are watching right now are saying: that point has been made,” the rapper clapped back, saying, “Not by me.”
Watch the clip in question below.