HBO confirmed that Maher will appear on the show this Friday, though his long-term future at the network remains unclear, according to Entertainment Weekly.
This week’s episode will not go as planned. HBO says academic Michael Eric Dyson will be filling this week’s guest slot after Sen. Al Franken bowed out of Real Time with Bill Maher in the wake of Maher’s use of a racial slur.
Franken called his remark “inappropriate and offensive.”
Dyson, an African-American author and Georgetown University sociology professor, tweeted a measured defence of Maher. While declaring that the N-word “should be reserved for black use,” he called Maher “a champion of many figures for black justice.”
Maher faced a flood of criticism for using the N-word in a TV interview with Nebraska Junior Sen. Ben Sasse on Real Time with Bill Maher last week.
As The New York Times reported, the pair were speaking about how adults still put on costumes for Halloween when Sasse said that doesn’t happen in his state.
“I’ve got to get to Nebraska more,” Maher responded.
“You’re welcome, we’d love to have you work in the fields with us,” Sasse said.
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n*****. No, it’s a joke,” Maher then said, looking toward the audience.
Maher later apologized on Saturday, saying he regretted using the “offensive” term.
“Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show,” Maher said in a statement. “Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment. The word was offensive and I regret saying it and am very sorry.”
HBO said the remark was “completely inexcusable and tasteless” and the segment would not be re-aired.
Some have been calling for Maher’s termination.
Please @HBO Do Not Air Another Episode Of Real Time With Bill Maher.
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) June 3, 2017
— rocka (@70srocka) June 3, 2017
— Hannibal (@RWComicFan) June 6, 2017
#FireBillMaher this is not acceptable bill maher showed his true colors tonight!
— russell tucker (@Russelltucker15) June 3, 2017
Many are comparing the outcome of the situation to CNN’s announcement regarding parting ways with Kathy Griffin after she posted a photo to social media of her holding a fake bloody severed head, which was clearly U.S. President Donald Trump’s.
Not to have a take about this, but the CNN firing was so swift for Kathy Griffin and no word yet from HBO on Bill Maher.
— Anthony Brian Smith (@AnthonyBLSmith) June 5, 2017
— Robert Berg (@robwillb) June 5, 2017
Bill Maher used the n-word on air and still has a show but Kathy Griffin's entire career is in jeopardy bc she hurt the president's feelings https://t.co/U8YWRUn9KH
— spencer claus (@spxncxrx) June 4, 2017
"No one can ruin their career faster than Kathy Griffin"
Bill Maher – Hold my beer
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) June 3, 2017
—With files from The Associated Press and Jesse Ferreras