Georgetown University sociology professor and author Michael Eric Dyson will replace Sen. Al Franken as a guest on Friday’s “Real Time” following Bill Maher’s controversial use of the n-word last week.
Franken canceled a scheduled guest appearance after backlash over the comment, the Huffington Post reported.
Dyson, an African-American, came to the defense of Maher, the show’s host, after comments he made on the show while interviewing Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Variety noted.
When the senator asked him to come to his state and “work in the fields,” Maher tried to joke, “Work in the fields? I’m a house n-----.” The remarks quickly led to criticism on social media and calls for Maher to be fired from the HBO program.
HBO, which promised to edit out the comment in future airings of the episode, released a statement saying: “Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless.”
Maher also later apologized, admitting his use of the term was “offensive.”
However, Dyson defended Maher on Twitter, writing that the host “has bravely, and relentlessly, pilloried racism, white privilege, and white indifference to the black plight.”
Although Dyson called Maher a “very dear friend” and “a champion of many fights for black justice,” he also condemned the use of the word in a statement, saying, “the n word should be reserved for black use. Period,” the HuffPost reported.
Other guests scheduled for Friday’s show have said they will appear with Maher, including former Rep. David Jolly, R-Florida, rapper and actor Ice Cube, and Symone Sanders, a former national press secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Journalist David Gregory is also scheduled to appear on the show.
The show could provide an opportunity for guests and Maher to confront the controversial incident.
Symone Sanders wrote in an email that Maher’s comment, Sasse’s reaction, and the crowd’s applause were “distasteful, inappropriate and offensive,” according to the HuffPost. She added she was glad Maher apologized.
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