LOS ANGELES — Representatives for Ice Cube said June 6 that the rapper and filmmaker will keep his scheduled appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher” June 9, in the first episode of the HBO program since Maher uttered a racial slur during a joke on the June 2 show.
“Ice Cube will still appear on Bill Maher this Friday as scheduled to talk about the release of ‘Death Certificate: 25th Anniversary’ edition, an album that was recorded in the wake of the Rodney King beating in 1991, which sadly, speaks to many of the same race issues that we as a society are still dealing with today,” the statement said, according to Variety.
Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, however, said June 5 that he will not appear on this week’s show as scheduled due to the offensiveness of Maher’s comment. Franken will be replaced by author and radio host Michael Eric Dyson, who like Ice Cube is African-America and has written and spoken at length about racial issues.
Other scheduled guests include journalist David Gregory, activist Symone Sanders and former Florida Rep. David Jolly.
Maher was interviewing Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse June 2 and joked that he should get to Nebraska more often, prompting Sasse to invite Maher to come “work in the fields with us.”
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n_____,” Maher said with a laugh, before assuring his audience that it was just a joke.
The comment sparked much outrage on Twitter, with some calling for Maher to be fired.
Maher apologized for using the slur the next day.
“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,” Maher said in a statement released the day after his comment aired. “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 officials also condemned the remark.
“Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless. We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airing of the show,” the network said in a statement.
“Real Time” airs live at 7 p.m. from the CBS Studios in Los Angeles.
HBO was criticized by some for not removing the slur before the show was rebroadcast at midnight.
This is not the first time Maher has been in hot water over remarks made on his TV shows. He was fired from his ABC show “Politically Incorrect” in 2002 after he said the 9/11 hijackers showed courage in crashing planes into buildings, which he contrasted with U.S. military personnel “lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away.”
More recently he’s been accused of Islamophobia for some of his views on the roots of Middle Eastern terrorism.
HBO previously announced that “Real Time” has already been renewed through 2018.