Bill Maher of Real Time with Bill Maher during HBO Winter 2007 TCA Press Tour in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc for HBO Films)
Jeff Kravitz—FilmMagic, Inc for HBO Films
June 10, 2017 9:28 AM EDT

A week after he came under fire for using a racial slur on the air during his HBO talk show, Real Time, Bill Maher apologized and reflected on the comment.

“I did a bad thing,” Maher told his first guest, Georgetown sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson Friday. “For black folks, that word, I don’t care who you are, has caused pain. I’m not here to do that.

“It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t said in malice,” Maher added. “If it brought back pain to people then that’s why I apologized freely and I reiterated it tonight.”

On last week’s episode of Real Time, Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse told Maher that he is welcome in the state and that “we’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”

Maher gave Sasse a puzzled look and responded, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house [expletive].”

The host faced immediate backlash on social media, with some calling for HBO to fire him.

Maher told Dyson that it was a “mistake” and likened the incident to a quarterback throwing an “interception.”

Ice Cube joined the host later in the show and said that the word is “like a knife” because it can be used as a tool or weapon.

“I think this is a teachable moment not just to you, but the people watching right now,” Ice Cube told Maher.

Maher responded by saying, “I think the people watching right now are saying, ‘That point has been made.'”

“Not by me,” Ice Cube replied. “I made it. I’m done. We can laugh now.”

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