Florida Senate, Republican State Sen. Frank Artiles

Florida Senate, Republican State Sen. Frank Artiles

*In an outburst directed at two black colleagues in the Florida Senate, Republican State Sen. Frank Artiles used the N-word to describe six white Republican legislators, then tried to justify it by saying it was okay because he left off the “r” and pronounced the slur, “n*ggas.”

Artiles, who is of Cuban descent, said it was “six n*ggas” who were responsible for electing Republican Senate President Joe Negron.

It all started when Artiles told African American Sen. Audrey Gibson (D) that questions he’d asked about one of her bills were posed in retaliation for questions she’d asked about one of his bills. During the exchange, Artiles referred to her as a “girl,” “this f*cking assh*le,” and “this b*tch.”

African American Sen. Perry Thurston, who was also at the table, said he urged Artiles to apologize, which he did. But then the N-word fell out of his mouth.

Via the Herald:

Then, someone else at the table — not an elected official — asked Artiles about another word he’d used in reference to Gibson: “girl.” Artiles said he meant no disrespect.

But when the conversation turned to Senate GOP leadership, Artiles used the n-word.

“He said, ‘If it wasn’t for these six niggers,’” Gibson said. By way of explanation, he added, “‘I’m from Hialeah,’” she said.

“I said, ‘OK, Perry, I’m done,’” Gibson said.

Gibson left the conversation to go to the restroom.

“I said, ‘Dude, did you say ‘niggers?’” Thurston recounted. “‘No, I said ‘niggas,’” which is different in his mind.” But not in Gibson’s and Thurston’s, they said.

Thurston, who leads the legislative black caucus, again urged Artiles to apologize to Gibson, but she didn’t come back to the table. She told the Herald, “It’s just the most disrespect I’ve ever encountered.”

Artiles told Politico: “It was a slang term, and I am not a racist. I am not a racist.”

The Florida Democratic party has called for his resignation, while the state Republican party chairman did not, referring to Artiles’ racist and sexist harassment of a colleague as a “truly unfortunate statement.”

“In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I unfortunately let my temper get the best of me,” Artiles said in a statement, after he’d been reported to Republican leadership. “There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely.”

“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,” Senate President Negron said in a statement released Tuesday night. “Senator Artiles has requested a point of personal privilege at the beginning of tomorrow’s sitting, during which he intends to formally apologize to Senator Gibson on the Senate Floor.”

Below is his “apology”: