After using n-word in front of black colleagues, Florida state senator faces calls to resign

It was okay, State Sen. Frank Artiles reportedly said, because he meant the slang version. 


 A Republican state senator from Miami is facing pressure to resign after he used the n-word to criticize several of his colleagues during an alcohol-fueled rant in front of two black lawmakers. 

 Over drinks at a private club in downtown Tallahassee, State Sen. Frank Artiles referred to six white senators as "n---" and spewed other obscenities while complaining about the chamber's GOP leadership, local media reported Tuesday. 

 In response, the Florida Democratic Party called on him to resign Tuesday night, saying he lacked the judgment to remain in office. 

 Artiles apologized for the remarks in a statement Tuesday provided to the Miami Herald. 

 "In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I unfortunately let my temper get the best of me," he said. "There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely." 

 Republican leaders said Artiles is expected to offer a formal apology this week on the state senate floor. 

 Artiles reportedly fired off the slurs in a heated conversation Monday night with Democratic senators Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston, both of whom are black. 

 The three were talking at the members-only Governor's Club near the state capitol when Artiles called Senate President Joe Negron, a Republican, a vulgar word for female genitalia and said he had won his position because "six n---" had elected him, according to the Herald. 

 When Gibson and Thurston recoiled at the comment, Artiles tried to defend himself by saying he meant to use a different version of the n-word, ending with "as" rather than "ers," according to Politico. The word was acceptable, he reportedly told them, because he hailed from Hialeah, a largely Hispanic city in Miami-Dade County. At one point, Politico reported, he also called Gibson an insulting word. 

 With that, Gibson stormed off, saying, "I'm done," Politico reported. 

 Thurston told the Herald he stayed and urged Artiles to apologize. 

 Eventually, he did, but it took the intervention of the Senate minority leader and another lawmaker, the Herald reported. 

 "I'm very respectful to this process. I'm very respectful to everyone," Gibson told the Herald. "And the way he was characterizing the vote — it wasn't nice." 

 Negron, the Senate president, reprimanded Artiles in a statement Tuesday. 

 "I was appalled to hear that one Senator would speak to another in such an offensive and reprehensible manner," he said. "Racial slurs and profane, sexist insults have no place in conversation between Senators." 

 This isn't the first brush with controversy for Artiles, a Cuban American and former Marine. In 2015, he was accused of punching a college student in the face outside a Tallahassee bar, a claim he denied, as the Miami New Times has reported. And in 2014, as the Herald reported Tuesday, he was secretly recorded using an anti-Muslim slur at a polling place.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

With in-depth report, Austin mulls pros, cons of 8 sites for MLS use
With in-depth report, Austin mulls pros, cons of 8 sites for MLS use

The Austin City Council postponed action regarding the potential future home of a Major League Soccer club this week, but there is plenty to discuss after eight publicly owned sites were unveiled as possibilities earlier this week. The city released a detailed report Thursday, providing more information about the sites identified as having the potential...
Austin City Council to study demolitions’ effect on affordable housing
Austin City Council to study demolitions’ effect on affordable housing

The Austin City Council approved a pair of resolutions Thursday evening aimed at addressing a recent audit that found housing demolitions in Austin are on the rise and are happening with little safety oversight. Council Member Kathie Tovo brought both resolutions to the council. Tovo has called for tamping down on demolitions, which have been occurring...
PolitiFact: What Alex Jones got wrong about Alabama vote
PolitiFact: What Alex Jones got wrong about Alabama vote

Austin-based commentator Alex Jones of Infowars.com suspects foul play in the recent Alabama U.S. Senate race. Democrat Doug Jones won in one of the safest of Republican states in the country, defeating Republican Roy Moore by 1.5 percentage points, or about 20,000 votes. The next day, Alex Jones said his calculations told him Moore should have come...
DeVos hit with two lawsuits in one day over backlog of student debt relief claims
DeVos hit with two lawsuits in one day over backlog of student debt relief claims

Pressure is mounting on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to take action on thousands of federal student loan forgiveness applications languishing at the U.S. Department of Education.  On Thursday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra suedDeVos and the department for failing to process more than 50,000 debt relief claims submitted by former...
Ivanka Trump, her brand dropped by some retailers, opens her own store in Trump Tower
Ivanka Trump, her brand dropped by some retailers, opens her own store in Trump Tower

Ivanka Trump's fashion company on Thursday opened a new store in the lobby of Trump Tower, where it plans to sell handbags, jewelry and candles as part of broader push to bypass retailers and sell directly to consumers.  The store in Midtown Manhattan — currently the company's only bricks-and-mortar location — comes after a number...
More Stories