Ice Cube Won't Back Out of His 'Real Time' Appearance But Doesn't Give Bill Maher a Pass for Using N-Word

"Why did he think he could be that comfortable with saying that?" the actor and rapper said in a new interview.

Ice Cube is still headlining Real Time With Bill Maher Friday night, but that doesn't mean the actor and rapper condones host Bill Maher's recent use of the N-word on the show.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cube said he doesn't understand Maher's actions. "He knows that's a bad word to a lot of people," he said. "Now, the question is: Why did he think he could be that comfortable with saying that? What makes you think you can say that? Why did you think you could get away with that?"  

The comments in question were made during last week's show when Maher responded to guest Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse's question, "Would you like to come work in the field with us?"

"Work in the fields?" asked Maher. "Senator, I am a house n—er."

Maher's remark sparked an immediate backlash online. Democratic Sen. Al Franken was set to appear on Real Time this week but canceled because of the slur. Cube, who had already been booked on the show, decided not to cancel his appearance but did tease what audiences can expect. "You'll see me on there Friday, and I'll say what I gotta say," he said.

To him, the reaction to comments like Maher's is not productive. "People are trying to go into this like, 'What is it, why is it, how does it happen? Why is this still offensive? Should we use it, shouldn't we use it?' — this, that and the other," Ice Cube told Rolling Stone.

The Real Time host has since apologized for his comments, calling his use of the N-word "offensive, and I regret saying it and am very sorry." HBO said in a statement that Maher's use of the word was "completely inexcusable." The pay cable network also edited out the word for future airings of Real Time.

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