Miami State Sen. Curses, Refers To Fellow Lawmakers As "Niggas"

Miami Republican Senator Frank Artiles is facing some serious backlash after allegedly calling two African-American colleagues the n-word.

In a private conversation Monday night, the colleagues say Artiles dropped the racial slur after calling one of them a "f**king a**hole," a "bitch" and a "girl." The foul language came around 10 p.m. over drinks at the members-only Governors Club outside the Florida State Capitol. 

Artiles allegedly told Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale that Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart had risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because “six niggers” in the Republican caucus elected him.

According to a recount by the Miami Herald, Artiles later said he'd used the work "niggas," suggesting the slang was not meant to be insulting. It’s unclear whom Artiles was referring to, since the only black senators in the state Senate are all Democrats — and none of them backed Negron’s bid to lead the chamber.

“He called Joe Negron a pussy,” Thurston said.

Artiles apologized late Tuesday afternoon, only after being reported to Republican leaders. In a statement, Artiles said that he let his temper get the best of him and that "There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred."

By Tuesday night, the Florida Democratic Party had called on Artiles to resign. Negron, after initially saying little on the incident, said in a statement late Tuesday he was “appalled” by Artiles’ comments — and that Artiles will publicly apologize to Gibson on the Senate floor Wednesday.

“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,” Negron said.

The Black Caucus has scheduled an emergency Wednesday meeting.

Artiles’ slur came the night before a racially diverse group of lawmakers from both parties gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to offer an emotional apology to the Groveland Four, the four African-American men who were wrongfully convicted in Lake County in 1949.

Artiles, a Cuban-American ex-Marine who represents Southwest Miami-Dade County, has gotten into notorious trouble in Tallahassee before. Two years ago, a college student in town for spring break said Artiles punched him in the face at a downtown bar. Artiles denied it.

Voters elected Artiles to Senate District 40 in November. He defeated former Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard, who is African-American.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content