Al Franken bows out of 'Real Time' after Bill Maher slur

Bill Maher continues to feel the fallout from last week's on-air racial slur: U.S. Sen. Al Franken has canceled a scheduled appearance this Friday on Real Time With Bill Maher.

A spokesman for the Minnesota Democratic senator said Monday that Franken would not appear on this week's edition of the HBO talk show. Franken, who recently released a new book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, was scheduled for the single-guest interview slot that immediately follows Maher's opening monologue.

"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. He was glad to see Bill — who the Senator considers to be a good friend — apologize and and express sincere regret for his comment," Franken spokesman Michael Dale-Stein said in a statement.

Maher has come under considerable criticism and some have called for his firing after his use of an offensive term for African-Americans during an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., on Friday's episode of Maher's irreverent political talk show.

Maher apologized Saturday in a statement provided by his publicist: "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."

In a statement Saturday, HBO called Maher's comment "inexcusable and tasteless" and said it was removing the word from subsequent broadcasts of the show. The network, which has taken no other action, has not announced a replacement for Franken on Friday's show.

Franken isn't the first guest to bail on Maher this season. Journalist Jeremy Scahill canceled in February after Maher invited the controversial Milo Yiannopoulos, then a Breitbart editor, to appear on the show.

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