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The Democratic senator’s appearance was originally scheduled for this upcoming Friday, June 9.
“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,’” a spokesperson for Franken tells Variety. “He was glad to see Bill, who the Senator considers to be a good friend, apologize and express sincere regret for his comment.”
Franken pulling out of his appearance is the latest in the fallout from Maher’s highly-publicized statement in which he used the phrase, “I’m a house n—–” during an interview with Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse. 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.”
HBO was not immediately available for comment, regarding Franken’s “Real Time” cancellation and a replacement guest for Friday’s episode.
Franken cancelling his “Real Time” appearance comes just days after the senator disinvited Kathy Griffin from a promotional event for his new book, following the comedian’s photo shoot in which she held up a bloody prop that resembled President Donald Trump’s decapitated head. Last week, Franken issued a statement regarding Griffin that was very similar to his statement about Maher. He said, “I believe what Kathy Griffin did was inappropriate and not something that should be anywhere in our national discourse. I consider her a friend and I’m glad she realized she crossed the line and apologized.”