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

Unfilled Pentagon jobs worry government services firms
Unfilled Pentagon jobs worry government services firms

Top executives at four of the nation's biggest government services firms have publicly griped in calls with investors about the slow pace at which key federal leadership positions are being filled, saying the vacancies are causing a slowdown in the pace of contract awards and making it difficult to plan for the future. They alternately blamed the White...
Behind a internment camp's barbed wire, two Scouts forged a bond
Behind a internment camp's barbed wire, two Scouts forged a bond

When they are together, it's not hard to see the Boy Scouts they were when they met seven decades ago, in the barbed-wire Japanese internment camp that sprawled over desolate fields. One was imprisoned here; one belonged to the only troop that agreed to a jamboree on the inside. Norman Mineta went on to become a mayor, a Democratic congressman and...
More charities cancel fundraisers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
More charities cancel fundraisers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

With its ornate 20,000-square-foot ballroom and manicured lawns, President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, is often the site of elaborate fundraisers, drawing big charities — and big dollars. But several organizations are having a change of heart since Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence...
Malia Obama, after a gap year, heads to Harvard
Malia Obama, after a gap year, heads to Harvard

Malia Obama was 10 years old and in the fifth grade when her father became president, and this week she will start a new chapter. She's off to Harvard, ending a gap year that sparked a national conversation about the trend and unfolded across multiple continents. Harvard's dorms open to freshmen Tuesday, and classes begin Aug. 30. The university is...
Trump vowed to hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents. It never happened
Trump vowed to hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents. It never happened

Five days after President Donald Trump took office, he signed an executive order that promised a swift, sharp crackdown on illegal immigration — immediate construction of a massive border wall, quick hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and stepped-up deportation of undocumented migrants. "Beginning today, the United States of America...
More Stories