A representative for HBO confirmed to the New York Daily News on Monday that talk show host and mediocre white man Bill Maher will keep his job with the network, after describing himself as a “house nigger” during last week’s episode of his weekly Real Time show.
While disappointing, Maher’s continued employment with the network is largely unsurprising, considering this latest outburst is just the latest (and, arguably—the crassest) instance of bigotry and racism from the long serving comedian, who has:
- Compared singer Zayn Malick to the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
- Described dealing with Hamas as like “dealing with a crazy woman” whose wrists you can only hold onto for so long before you have to “slap her.”
- Responded to accusations of domestic violence against reality star Tila Tequila by joking “The surprise is that someone hasn’t choked this bitch sooner.”
- Noted that digitally recording an interview with transgender icon Caitlyn Jenner was “ironic” because his TIVO “also cuts things off.”
And has, in general, peppered his career with countless other offensive “jokes” about women, people of color, and in particular, Muslims:
In response to his latest example of racism, HBO called the comment “completely inexcusable and tasteless,” and promised to remove the clip from any future airings of that episode.
Maher, for his part, has also apologized for the “joke”—made in response to Republican senator Ben Sasse’s suggestion that he work in the field in Sasse’s state of Nebraska—saying, “The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”
Still, despite the growing chorus of voices calling for Maher’s firing, HBO’s refusal to pull him from their roster is as clear a sign as any that, despite Maher’s routine of coming up with “new rules” for his show, when it comes to being a offensive white guy of medium talent with a high-profile TV deal, the old rules still apply.