UPDATE: Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from office on Friday after a racist, profanity-ridden explosion directed at two of his black colleagues.
While he had previously apologized for his language, the public's trust in him was shattered, and people demanded that he step down.
"I apologize to my family and friends and I apologize to all my fellow Senators and lawmakers," he said in a statement. "To the people of my district of all of Miami-Dade, I am sorry to have let you down and ask your forgivness."
May he use his new free time to educate himself on racism in the United States and become an ally to communities of color rather than a hand in their dehumanization.
A Republican Florida senator directed a string of racist and sexist expletives at two of his black colleagues.
Miami Sen. Frank Artiles hurled the n-word at two of his African-American colleagues, Democratic Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale, during a private conversation earlier this week at Tallahassee’s Governor’s Club.
The debate began Monday night after Artiles approached Gibson to tell her that a series of questions he had asked regarding the Democratic senator’s bill were payback for the questions she had asked before over one of Artiles’ bills
The senator used the n-word during the conversation as well as called Gibson a “f****** as****e,” “a bitch” and a “girl.”
A belief that Senate President Joe Negron “had been risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because ‘six n****rs’ in the Republican caucus had elected him.”
It’s not clear who he meant by the “six n****rs” since the only black senators in the State Senate belong to the Democratic Party and none of them backed Negron’s bid to lead the chamber.
Gibson complained about his vulgar language to Sen. Thurston who was sitting beside her, who then asked Artiles if he meant what he said. Artiles denied it and later also told Thurston that he said “niggas” not “ni****s” suggesting the slang word was not insulting — whatever he meant by that.
Thurston then offered to accompany Artiles to Gibson’s office the next morning so that he could apologize to her but the Republican senator failed to show up at the appointed time. Thurston then notified Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon of Miami Garden about the incident and by the next afternoon Sen. Negron’s office had been notified.
After news reporters started asking questions, Artiles finally apologized to Negron.
“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 to reporters. “There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely.”
But the action was considered to be a non-apology by Gibson herself because of Artiles’ reluctance and how late the apology was in coming.
Negron also said he was “appalled” by Artiles’ statements.
“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 Florida Democratic Party, along with his constituents, is calling on Artiles to resign after the incident came to light.
This isn’t the first time the Florida Republican has hurled racial slurs at people of color. He was once secretly recorded calling Muslims and Middle Easterners “hajis,” a racist term.
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