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WASHINGTON DC – APRIL 14: Michael Eric Dyson appears on the “DC Emancipation Day 150th Anniversary Great Debate” presented by Centric at the Lincoln Theatre on April 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/PictureGroup) via AP IMAGES

NEW YORK (AP) — HBO says academic Michael Eric Dyson will be filling this week’s guest slot after Sen. Al Franken bowed out of “Real Time with Bill Maher” in the wake of Maher’s use of a racial slur last week.

Maher was roundly criticized for using the N-word in a joking reference to himself as a house slave. Although he later apologized, Franken called his remark “inappropriate and offensive.”

Dyson, an African-American author and Georgetown University sociology professor, tweeted a measured defense of Maher. While declaring that the N-word “should be reserved for black use,” he called Maher “a champion of many figures for black justice.”

Musician-actor Ice Cube, journalist David Gregory, former Florida Rep. David Jolly and activist Symone Sanders will also appear.

“Real Time” airs live Friday at 10 p.m. EDT.

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