Ice Cube confronts Bill Maher over using the N-word

Credit: HBO
Credit: HBO /

Actor and rapper Ice Cube let Bill Maher have it on his own HBO show last night, tearing into him over his use of the notorious racial slur last week.

Real Time host Bill Maher is no stranger to controversy. Throughout his entire career, Maher has been ruffling feathers by just saying how he feels. But last week, many were saying that Maher had pushed it and gone a step too far.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, I’ll summarize it for you. On last week’s Real Time, Maher made a tasteless joke while chatting with a guest. He referred to himself as a “house [N-word]”, joking about his refusal to work out in the Southern fields.

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Backlash was immediate, leading Maher to issue out an apology the next day. Although most people seem to agree that Maher isn’t genuinely racist, using the word is still over the line. And just to make sure Maher can learn from this “teachable moment”, Ice Cube came onto the comedian’s show last night to hammer it in.

“What made you think that it was cool to say that?” the rapper straight up asks Maher. He then goes on to explain exactly why hearing white people say that word is hurtful, even if they don’t mean for it to be. “When I hear a white person say it, it feel like that knife stabbing you,” he clarifies.

Again, Maher apologizes for the remark, taking total responsibility for it. He reiterates that there was no thought put into it, and fortunately, Ice Cube does accept the apology. “It was wrong, and I owned up to that. But it’s not like a career of this,” Maher goes on to add. “It’s not like I went out there last Friday and I said, ‘Oh, I’m going to break some new ground tonight.’”

You can watch the exchange in the video below.

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I love Maher as much as the next guy. But like Maher himself, I can agree that his joke was incredibly tasteless. But as Maher says, we’re all sinners, and surely we can forgive him for this mistake.