Bill Maher should have been fired for uttering N-word
By Scott Jennings
I haven’t stopped scratching my head over this — why wasn’t Bill Maher fired?
Maher, the liberal host of HBO’s “Real Time,” did something that would, on the spot, get anyone else fired in 99.99 percent of American job sites. He nonchalantly, stupidly and outrageously used the “N-word” during a live broadcast while interviewing Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse about the up-and-comer’s new book.
Maher said during the interview, “I’ve got to get to Nebraska more.”
Sasse replied, “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
And then Maher hit Sasse with the unthinkable: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger.”
There is virtually no place in America where that flies as appropriate workplace banter, whether that place employs comedians and television commentators or not. The way the term so casually rolled off Maher’s tongue indicates an unsettling familiarity with the phrase. Simply calling it a “joke,” as Maher did seconds later over a groaning audience, doesn’t absolve him.
Many people took to the virtual streets demanding Maher’s ouster. The website ThinkProgress, a news hub for younger liberals, recounted all of Maher’s racially insensitive remarks over the years, calling him a “public racist for a long time.”
But Maher’s dismissal never came. He issued an apology and HBO delivered a statement calling Maher’s word choice “inexcusable.”
But Maher was excused, one week later finding himself back on the air completely unpunished. Did the HBO public relations department not Google “inexcusable” before hitting send on that statement? What happened was literally the opposite of inexcusable. During his comeback show, Maher couldn’t maintain the appearance of humility for even one hour, becoming “visibly frustrated” as rapper Ice Cube dressed him down.
Sadly, Maher is not the only member of a protected class of liberal elites permitted to make racially insensitive remarks without consequence. Former Vice President Joe Biden once called Jews “shylocks” and referred to the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore as “the wisest man in the Orient,” a term many people of Asian descent find offensive.
Those utterances happened in the same week! Biden, of course, was given a pass by his party and is now possibly exploring a 2020 presidential run.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, is in the club, too. Following the 2008 presidential election, “journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann…quote Reid as saying privately that Obama, as a black candidate, could be successful thanks, in part, to his ‘light-skinned’ appearance and speaking patterns ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.’”
Reid later apologized but held onto his leadership position and senate seat, because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, as the kids say nowadays.
Reid made out better than fellow Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, whose leadership position did not survive a toast he gave at former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party. At the 2002 feting of Thurmond, Lott said the United States “wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years” had Thurmond won the presidency in 1948, an election in which Thurmond ran on a segregationist platform. Despite a vigorous apology tour, Lott was forced out of the majority leader’s suite.
Lott’s toast at an elderly man’s birthday party was far less eyebrow-raising than what Reid would say about the nation’s first black president a few years later, but the Bush 43 White House and several prominent Republicans quickly abandoned Lott, sealing his fate.
And that was the difference. In Lott’s case, the Republican Party leadership decided he had to go. For Reid, the Democratic Party yawned the way it later would for Biden. The liberal elites, all too eager to paint Republicans as racists when it suits their politics, look the other way when it comes to their own.
Which brings me back to Maher. Why wasn’t he fired again? There are a few possible explanations. His show appears on a network that depends on paid subscribers instead of corporate advertisers, affording a layer of protection not enjoyed by hosts on broadcast networks or basic cable (ask Bill O’Reilly, formerly of Fox News, about those dynamics).
Without advertisers pressuring HBO to pull the show, the network needs only worry about people canceling subscriptions. But let’s face it: that isn’t going to happen. Many liberals, no matter how outraged they claim to be, would rather keep watching Game of Thrones than sending a message about Maher.
The more likely explanation is that the American liberal elite—particularly the older generation—has decided Maher is too important to the so-called “resistance” to banish him. Maher’s unique ability to carve up conservative politicians, in their minds, far outweighs the racist comments he makes.
Basically, members of the liberal elite really love forwarding YouTube clips of Maher to each other when he dumps on President Trump, so he gets a pass.
This nation continues to struggle with racial issues. Income inequality and educational disparities plague African-American communities all over the United States. But we have made progress as a society on stamping out casually verbalized racism, relegating the hurtful and hateful “N-word” to taboo status. The failure to punish Maher’s throwback stupidity is a setback, a prime opportunity to send a message of racial tolerance, unfortunately, sacrificed in the name of snarky liberal extremism.