Bill Maher draws backlash for making Popeyes comment to black congressman
© HBO

Comedian Bill Maher drew backlash on Friday after he suggested that Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHere are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act Iraq War vet Ortiz Jones sets up rematch against Hurd in Texas MORE (R-Texas), who is black, collected intelligence near “Popeyes” during his career in the CIA.

Maher had pressed Hurd on why he was a Republican.

"They’re not good at national defense — the president’s a traitor. What’s in it for you? What is in the Republican Party for you? You were in the CIA!”

Hurd, discussing his work in the CIA with Maher, said “I was the dude in the back alleys at 4 o’clock in the morning collecting intelligence.”

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“That’s where they collect them?” Maher responded, “By the Popeyes chicken?”

Hurd appeared to brush off the comment by continuing to discuss his career.

The Hill has reached out to Hurd's office for comment on the exchange.

Maher's remarks were widely denounced on Twitter.

“How many lives does Bill Maher have?!” tweeted National Republican Senatorial Committee senior adviser Matt Whitlock. “A shocking number for someone who isn’t funny and adds very little to the world." 

“He did it again, folks. How long is @HBO going to be cool with a guy being unabashedly racist on their network under the guise of just being outrageous?” Sleeping Giants, an anti-bigotry campaign, posted from its official Twitter account. 

Maher has drawn criticism for inflammatory comments before.

The HBO host was accused of being racist in 2017 after he used the n-word on his show. Maher later apologized for the remark.