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Bill Maher Lines Up Michael Eric Dyson to Replace Al Franken in Wake of N-Word Scandal

Variety logo Variety 6/6/2017 Joe Otterson
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Bill Maher will host academic and author Michael Eric Dyson on this Friday’s “Real Time” following Sen. Al Franken’s announcement he would not appear on the show due to Maher’s use of the n-word during last week’s show.

Dyson, who is African-American, came to Maher’s defense after backlash began to mount following his use of the controversial term. “[Maher] has bravely, and relentlessly, pilloried racism, white privilege, and white indifference to the black plight,” Dyson wrote on Twitter. “In short, he has used his platform to highlight black faces, and amplify black voices, that might otherwise have never been given such a prominent perch to tell their truths.” Read Dyson’s full statement below.

Other guests on Friday’s show will include rapper and actor Ice Cube, with the roundtable consisting of David Gregory, former Fla. Rep. David Jolly and activist Symone Sanders.

On last week’s “Real Time,” Maher was doing an interview with Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse when the Senator invited Maher to come to Nebraska and “work in the fields.” Maher replied, “Work in the fields? I’m a house n—–.” The moment quickly garnered attention on social media with viewers quick to criticize the host and HBO, calling for the network to fire him. HBO said the remark would be edited out of future airings of the episode and issued a statement saying, “Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless.”

Maher was swift to issue an apology, stating, “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. 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.”

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