Florida senator under fire for calling black colleagues N-word, racial slurs
A Florida senator is facing calls for his resignation after he went on a racist tirade on Monday night and used slurs against two African-American colleagues.
Miami Sen. Frank Artiles was with Democratic Sens. Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston at the Governors Club near the state Capitol in Tallahassee when he started to go off about Republican Sen. Joe Negron, who had become the new Florida Senate President, according to the Miami Herald.
Artiles complained that "if it wasn't for these six n—-rs," Negron would not have that position, although it was not immediately clear who Artiles meant, since the Florida State Senate's African-American senators are all Democrats who would not have voted for Negron anyway.
When their discussion turned heated, Artiles also slurred Gibson, calling her "girl" as well as "this f—-ng a—-le" and "this b–ch." Gibson stormed off, leaving Thurston to hold Artiles accountable.
"I said, 'Dude, did you say 'n—-rs?'" Thurston recalled to the Herald. "'No, I said, 'n—as,' which is different in his mind."
Thurston urged Artiles to apologize the next day, but he did not until Negron's office had been told about the incident. Then, Artiles put out a statement, saying, "In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I unfortunately let my temper get the best of me. There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely."
The Florida Democratic Party called for Artiles' resignation in a statement released Tuesday which said, "His use of horrific racist and sexist slurs towards his colleagues is disgusting, unacceptable and has no place in our democracy or our society. There is never an excuse for racism or misogyny and the people of Florida aren't buying it. Resign now."