Comedian Jim Norton Maher Not Hateful, Just Tasteless ... Cut Him Some Slack

6/9/2017 11:06 AM PDT

Jim Norton Says Bill Maher's Use of N-Word Wasn't Hateful, Just 'Tasteless'

EXCLUSIVE

Jim Norton's coming to Bill Maher's defense of the n-word, saying intentions make a difference -- plus, the rules on who can use the word seem kinda arbitrary.

The comedian told us Maher's "house n*****" joke was definitely offensive, but he thinks the rabid backlash ignored the context. Norton points out there are lots of entertainers and artists -- even white ones -- who use the word in their work ... so, why the double standard with Bill?

Bottom line to Norton -- Bill just missed the mark, and was NOT being deliberately hateful -- and to him, it's not much different from Stephen Colbert's jab at President Trump.