A spokesperson for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) confirmed to HuffPost that the senator is canceling his appearance on the upcoming episode of “Real Time” in the wake of host Bill Maher’s use of a racial slur on-air.
“Senator Franken believes that what Bill Maher said was inappropriate and offensive, which is why he made the decision not to appear on the next episode of ‘Real Time,’” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “He was glad to see Bill, who the Senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.”
Last Friday, Maher joked on his show that he was a “house n****r” while in conversation with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who invited Maher to “work in the fields” of his represented state. Maher later called his use of the term “offensive.”
The backlash was strong enough for Maher to apologize ― something he’s known for rarely doing ― and for HBO to confirm that the network currently has no plans to fire him.
Symone Sanders, an activist and former national press secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, plans to attend, although she hopes to have a discourse about Maher’s use of the “n-word.”
“I am still planning on doing the show Friday,” she said in an email. “I thought Maher’s comment, Ben Sasse’s reaction and the crowd’s applause were all equally distasteful, inappropriate and offensive. I am glad Maher too recognized as such and issued an apology.”
“I look forward to a dialogue about it and other pressing issues of the week on Friday,” Sanders continued. “The n-word is not a joke to be thrown about and it is never OK to make light of slavery and/or the experiences of enslaved people.”
Ice Cube, Former Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) and journalist David Gregory are also scheduled to appear on Friday’s episode. HuffPost did not receive an immediate comment from them as of press time.