You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

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

Scott pushes for priorities, absent veto threat
Scott pushes for priorities, absent veto threat

Back from a trade mission to Argentina that took place while legislative leaders hammered out details of the budget in private, Gov. Rick Scott continued a push for his top priorities —- the state’s tourism marketing agency, incentives for businesses and Lake Okeechobee dike repairs. Scott’s office announced in his absence that a...
Florida ‘Stand your Ground’ change remains in limbo
Florida ‘Stand your Ground’ change remains in limbo

High noon is approaching in a standoff over part of a controversial bill dealing with “stand your ground” self-defense cases. The House and Senate have both backed passing a bill that would shift a key burden of proof in “stand your ground” cases, but they have taken different stances on an important legal detail. The Senate...
The Trump administration says it's not pushing a tax cut for the rich.  
The Trump administration says it's not pushing a tax cut for the rich.  

President Donald Trump's top tax lieutenants are billing his approach as relief for the middle class, saying ordinary taxpayers would see big cuts while the rich would go on paying as much as they do now.   That description, however, is sharply at odds with what details the administration has put forward thus far.   On Wednesday...
Democrats have votes in Senate to block homestead exemption increase
Democrats have votes in Senate to block homestead exemption increase

As a sign of their “increasing weight” in the legislative process, Senate Democrats have enough votes to block a key priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who wants to increase the property tax exemption for homeowners. The House this week voted 84-30 for a proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 7107) that would increase the homestead...
$100-limit blackjack ahead at Florida racinos? Legislature dealing
$100-limit blackjack ahead at Florida racinos? Legislature dealing

The Seminole Tribe would not be required to guarantee $3 billion in payments to the state in exchange for adding craps and roulette to the tribe’s casino operations, under the latest offer in gambling negotiations between the House and Senate. The Senate made the proposal Thursday while not backing away from other high-profile positions. Those...
More Stories