Al Franken defends Bill Maher after canceling “Real Time” appearance: “He’s not a racist”

Left: (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP) Right: (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson/file)

Al Franken (D-Minn.) is defending comedian and host of HBO’s “Real Time,” Bill Maher, after he used the “n-word,” saying that he doesn’t think the host is a racist.

Maher used the offensive word during a conversation with Senator Ben Sasse (R – Neb.) on “Real Time.” Sasse had said that Maher should come work in the fields with them in Nebraska to which the comedian replied, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n****r.”

Although Maher later apologized, the backlash against his comment was swift. Franken canceled his scheduled appearance this week, even though he considers Maher a friend, because what the comedian did was “inappropriate and offensive, which is why he made the decision” according to a statement sent to The Huffington Post by the Senator’s office.

During an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Alter Family Politics,” Franken said that even though he canceled an upcoming appearance on Maher’s show, he doesn’t think that Maher is a racist.

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“No! He’s not a racist. I don’t think he’s a racist,” Franken said. “But, I think he just used a word that white people have no business using, and he should know that.”

He added: “He’s a friend of mine. I just didn’t want to sit around for four to five days being attacked for going on the show before I went on the show.”

“Alter Family Politics” host, Jonathan Alter, asked Franken if he’d ever appear on Maher’s show again in the future despite the backlash against the boundary-pushing host.

Franken replied, “Yeah, I expect so. Sure.”

Although Franken said he would most likely appear on Maher’s show in the future, he is still condemning the use of the slur, telling “Alter Family Politics” co-host, Emily Lazar, that even though comedians always cross lines, that’s a line that shouldn’t have been crossed.

“That’s a line that he should have known. He’s been around long enough to know that that’s not a word white people can use. It just is not. And he should have known that,” he asserted to Lazar.

(H/T: The Huffington Post)

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