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Bill Maher has built a career teetering the line of racial politics and comedy, but on Friday he may have seriously stepped over it.

On Friday’s Real Time Maher referred to himself as a “house n-word while interviewing Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. The two were talking about adults dressing in Halloween costumes and Maher asked the Senator if they did that in Nebraska.

Sasse said no, “It’s frowned upon. We don’t do that quite as much.”

“I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” Maher replied.

“You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” said the senator.

“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n****r,” Maher answered. “No, it’s a joke,” Maher said.

Sasse just sat there.

After the show, the Senator took to Twitter to condemn Maher’s use of the racial slur: “I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines,” he said. “But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough.”

Sasse also wishes that he would spoken up during the segment:

Others on Twitter have lashed out at Maher:

In a statement HBO said the following:

BEAUTIES: What do you think about what he said?

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