State Sen. Frank Artiles (R-Miami) reportedly swore at two African-American colleagues several times at a private dinner Monday night, even going so far as to use a racial epithet, according to several news reports.
Artiles reportedly grew heated over drinks at a members-only club near the state Capitol and called Jacksonville State Sen. Audrey Gibson a "b----," a "f------ a------," a "girl" and said Senate President Joe Negron got to his powerful GOP post thanks to "six n----rs" in the Republican caucus.
That is a point of contention, the Miami Herald reports, because Gibson and State Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale) say he used a 'hard-r,' but Artiles maintains he said "six n---as."
The Herald reports Artiles believes there is a distinction between the two words, but Gibson and Thurston reportedly disagree.
Negron of Stuart, Florida and incoming Republican Senate President Bill Galvano reportedly accompanied Artiles to a meeting to apologize to Gibson and Thurston Tuesday afternoon.
"I can’t remember a time in my life when anybody called me either one of those things,” Gibson told the Herald, speaking about the two insults directed at her. "It’s just the most disrespect I’ve ever encountered."
The Florida Democratic Party is calling on Artiles to resign after his comments. "Frank Artiles must resign now. His use of horrific racist and sexist slurs towards his colleagues is disgusting, unacceptable and has no place in our democracy or our society," read a statement.
The Herald notes in their report that there are no African-American members of the GOP caucus.
Senate President Negron released a statement late Tuesday night that reads, in part:
"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. 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."