Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, publicly apologized Wednesday morning for a tirade at a club that included making derogatory comments about a fellow senator and using a racial slur, Senate President Joe Negron said late Tuesday.
“I stand up before all of you, every one of you, and with great humility, I ask for your forgiveness,” Artiles said on the Senate floor this morning.
The apology comes after news reports about Artiles berating Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, on Monday night at the Governors Club near the Capitol. The Miami Herald reported that Artiles also used the word “niggers” — though he later said he had used the word “niggas” and suggested that he didn’t think the slang term was insulting.
Gibson, who’d previously served in the House, was elected to the Senate in a 2012 special election, when her district included a small part of Flagler County. The district has since been redrawn and no longer includes Flagler voters.
Negron issued a statement late Tuesday saying that he was told about the incident by Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens. Negron said he 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,” Negron said in the statement. “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.”
Sen. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who is expected to become Senate president after the 2018 elections, said Gibson “under no circumstances should ever have been spoken to in such a reprehensible manner.”
“I understand that President Negron is allowing Senator Artiles to formally apologize on the Senate floor tomorrow,” Galvano said. “Such comments cannot be repaired by a formal apology, but I trust that it is an appropriate step to be taken by the president and the Florida Senate to handle this matter, and to ensure that this behavior is not tolerated and does not happen again.”
The Florida Times-Union reported that Artiles’ tirade apparently stemmed from being upset that Gibson had voted against bills he sponsored and had asked critical questions about the measures.
The Herald reported that Artiles “dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night — after calling one of them a ‘fucking asshole,’ a ‘bitch’ and a ‘girl,’ the two senators said. Over drinks after 10 p.m. at the members-only Governors Club just steps from the state Capitol, Artiles 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 had elected him.”
Artiles, who was elected to the Senate in November after serving in the House, also told Gibson and Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, that Negron had become Senate president because of getting votes from “six niggers” in the Republican caucus, the Herald reported. Artiles later told Gibson and Thurston — both of whom are black — that he had used the word “niggas.”
The Herald reported that it was unclear who Artiles was talking about “since the only black senators in the state Senate are all Democrats — and none of them backed Negron’s bid to lead the chamber.”
Both newspapers said Artiles issued a statement Tuesday apologizing.
“In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I unfortunately let my temper get the best of me,” he reportedly said in the statement. “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, however, called on Artiles to resign because of the incident.
“Frank Artiles must resign now,” Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone 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.”
The Root, the black-culture online magazine, was more scathing: “Another day, another Republican showing out in the name of white supremacy,” The Root’s Kirsten West Savali wrote.
Artiles has at times walked more reactionary than conservative grounds: he had led the ultimately failed campaign two years ago to pass a bill forbidding local governments from extending protections to transgender people using public bathrooms–a replica of the bill that would eventually pass in North Carolina, triggering a political and business backlash in that state against the Republican governor who signed it into law, and who lost a re-election bid in 2016.
–FlaglerLive and the News Service of Florida
Just another typical Republican racist a-hole. No news here.
How do you expect to have a true equality in America when many of the people who run our government are racist? Seems like a conflict of interest to me. Freedom isn’t free I guess, unless you are white.
Di G. says
Apology may be accepted but his acts and words will never be forgotten by us, voters.
Enough is enough GOP.
The Geode says
It’s alright folks. He said “nigga” instead of “nigger”. …WHAT?
This Cuban ancestry pseudo senator from Miami needs to be booted! Got to stop this racism spreading like wildfire and ignited in the 2016 election campaign by the top GOP honchos. He does not represent America…
A GOP Latino insulting our African Americans representatives too? What is next? Out with Artiles!
Is anybody really surprised? The republicans have always been racist, bigots and hypocrites. It’s just now they feel the idiot in the White House got their backs, they feel it’s ok to show their true colors, until they feel the heat from their constituents. “The fill the swamp ” , “pay for play” , “grab their p…y” president is their hero.
I look forward to the Impeachment of the S.O.B
Katie Semore says
People don’t accidentally use language that isn’t commonplace to then. His colleagues should say his apology will be accepted when he shows proof of a donation of $10,000 to the Negro College Fund.
This is completely outrageous! Where is our Republican governor now? Where is Rubio? Why is Scott and Rubio not speaking out and condemning such behavior? No apology will ever make this “alright”! This “horrific” , “despicable” Republican state Senator Artiles needs to resign immediately!
The Three Stooges: Featuring Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Elizabeth Warren are the racist and the dumbest! For sure.
Mr. Artiles makes me laugh, having used that ugly derrogation. He should know better.
Spanish-speakers like him come from different races, and many different countries. Some look
anglo, some are brown, and many are indigenous looking.
I wonder how many times people have used the word “spic” in his presence without realizing
Mr. Atiles derivation. Even funnier is when a fellow Spanish-speaker attacks someone from a
different latin nation. As a teeneager, I worked in a large Miami drugstore, stocking shelves.
Some Venezuelan sailors were in town one day, and I overheard them bad-mouthing Puerto Ricans,
Cubans, and African-Americans. They were maybe 3 feet from me. Towards the end of the prolonged invective-laced throat clearing, one of these fellows asks me in awkward, broken English where the
Tylenol is. I answered him in Spanish and he turned beet red. He thought that I was just an “Americano”
who had no idea what bullshit he was spewing. Well this here “Americano” speaks Espanol!
People who make racist remarks are just plain stupid. What goes around, comes around.
Remember this: no person is “better” than you, but you are not superior to anyone as well.
We all bleed red.
wishful thinking says
We have enough idiots in public office. This jackass needs to go. I lived in Hialeah, ran for office in Hialeah and had a lot of fun in Hialeah. No reason to stigmatize any city, or political party or national origin – a jerk is a jerk is a jerk….
he needs to be removed from his office.
Frank Artiles will be fine. He will just move on to being a fixer/lobbyist. His rolodex (contacts list) is gold. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that birds like Frank Artiles, Bill O’Really (sic) and their ilk are catching lots of heat from the fire the little liar-in-chief has started.
As reported in USA TODAY
“GOP Sen. Frank Artiles sent a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, a Republican from Stuart, Fla., announcing his resignation, saying he was doing so to protect his family and the integrity of the legislative chamber.”
Great News! ARTILES HAS RESIGNED. . . due to articles like this and public pressure!!
We need to replace him with a Democrat. . . Donate to the Florida Democratic Party Today!
Dee K Griggs says
A apology is definitely a necessity, and stepping down is the next appropriate thing.
It is never appropriate to be a sexist and racist , two strikes a 3 is not even an option