HBO has released a statement on Bill Maher’s use of a racial slur on last night’s episode of Real Time, calling the comedian’s comment “completely inexcusable and tasteless.” The network has stated that the comment—in which Maher referred to himself using a derogatory phrase referencing slavery during a conversation with Nebraska Republican senator Ben Sasse—would be edited out of future broadcasts of the episode.
Sasse also responded to the interview via Twitter, stating that he wishes he’d handled the moment differently:
Maher himself has yet to acknowledge the controversy surrounding his comment.
UPDATE: Variety reports that Maher has now issued an apology, writing, “Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show. Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”