It has recently been reported by the Miami Herald that a Republican senator from Miami used derogatory words and racist comments towards a female senator, including “f*cking asshole”, “bitch”, and then went on to use the N-word in another conversation.
The incident took place at Governors Club, a social members-only club located in Tallahasse. Senator Frank Artiles told his fellow senators Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston that Joe Negron, Florida senate president only secured his role in leadership because “six n*ggers” elected him”. Later Artiles back pedaled saying he used the term “niggas” which according to Artiles is not the same, or derogatory.
According to Gibson he said “if it wasn’t for these six n*ggers” blatantly using the racial slur. Gibson also states that she was also referred to as “this f*cking asshole and “this bitch” in the conversation with Artiles.
Gibson said that she promptly took leave from the conversation, after explaining to Thurston what had been said, as he had been chatting with other people who were at the table with them. Artiles was confronted about what he had said by Thurston, but denied he had said anything wrong to Gibson. Thurston told the Herald “I said, ‘Dude, did you say ‘n*ggers?’” “‘No, I said ‘niggas.’” As if the flawed logic that niggas is any less derogatory than the N-word somehow makes what he said any better.
Thurston urged Artiles to apologize to Gibson for the various unpleasant things that he said said to her, planning for Artiles to meet him at his office at 9 a.m Tuesday so that they could go together to Gibson’s office to give her a much deserved apology. Thurston claims that Artiles never showed up. Thurston then notified Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon about the incident. Artiles had two more opportunities after this to apologize to Gibson, as they happened to conincide on Tuesday on the Sentate Floor and also at a transportation budget meeting, but Gibson claims to not have received her owed apology at either occasion.
By later Tueday afternoon Negron’s office had been informed about the incident. Artiles was escorted to apologize to Gibson, Thurston and Braynon. Before his apology Gibson told the Herald that Artiles saying sorry would be “meaningless.” In regards to the insults she endured she stated:
“You’re just talking — loud — to a table of people about leadership. It made me sad. I can’t remember a time in my life when anybody called me either one of those things. It’s just the most disrespect I’ve ever encountered.”
Artiles spoke out to reporters 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.”
It is unclear who Artiles was even referring to when he made the racial slurs, seeing as the only African American senators in the state Senate are Democrats. None of them even backed Negron’s bid to lead the chamber.
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