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Lawmaker to Apologize After Using Racial Slur in Tirade to Black Colleagues

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A Florida Republican came under fire after unleashing a late-night tirade in which he reportedly used the n-word in front of Democratic black colleagues and used profane and misogynistic language towards one of them while having drinks at a bar late Monday night. Now, State Senator Frank Artiles is expected to apologize on the Senate floor, the Miami Herald reported.

During a conversation at the Governors Club, a bar near the state Capitol, Artiles was reportedly talking to Democratic Senator Audrey Gibson about Senate business when he called her a “f***ing a******,” a “bitch” and a “girl.” Gibson then complained to Sen. Perry Thurston, who was at the same table. Thurston pushed Artiles to apologize to Gibson, but the trouble didn’t end there.

Artiles later started complaining about Senate President Joe Negron. In the presence of both Gibson and Thurston, who are black, Artiles claimed that Negron only became President due to certain Republicans, and used an offensive slur to describe them. “He said, ‘If it wasn’t for these six niggers,” Gibson told the Herald.

Thurston confronted Artiles on his language. “I said, ‘Dude, did you say ‘niggers?'” Thurston said.”‘No, I said ‘niggas,”” which is different in his mind.

It’s possible that Artiles did somehow have a different intention behind the term, given that the only black members of the Senate are Democrats, and none of them supported Negron for Senate President.
Negron issued a statement on Tuesday, saying:
I was appalled to hear that one Senator would speak to another in such an offensive and reprehensible manner. … Racial slurs and profane, sexist insults have no place in conversation between Senators and will not be tolerated while I am serving as Senate President.

Artiles is expected to apologize to Gibson on the Senate floor on Wednesday. In a statement, he has already said, “In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I unfortunately let my temper get the best of me.” He added, “There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely.”

[Image via Florida Senate]
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