Bill Maher was widely criticized for using the N-word on his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night.

The comedian was talking to Sen. Ben Sasse about his latest book, The Vanishing American Adult.

The Nebraskan Senator asked the question: “Would you like to come work in the field with us?”
“Work in the fields?” said Maher. “Senator, I am a house n – er.

“No it’s — it’s a joke,” Maher said immediately after that. Neither Sasse nor the audience looked upset. However, there was instant backlash on social media, where Maher was slammed for using the word.

Earlier today, Sasse tweeted he wished he had said something.

“I’m a 1st Amendment absolutist. Comedians get latitude to cross hard lines,” Sasse began. “But free speech comes with a responsibility to speak up when folks use that word. Me just cringing last night wasn’t good enough.”

He continued, “Here’s what I wish I’d been quick enough to say in the moment: ‘Hold up, why would you think it’s OK to use that word? The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It’s therefore an attack on the American Creed. Don’t use it.'”

HBO said in a statement to THR the use of the word would be edited out of future airings of that Real Time episode.

“Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless,” the HBO statement said. “We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show.”