July 20th, 2009
09:38 PM ET
5 years ago

Maloney apologizes for using N word

Maloney is running for Senate.
Maloney is running for Senate.

(CNN) – New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, apologized Monday for using the N word in a recent interview while recounting a phone call she had received.

"I apologize for having repeated a word I find disgusting," Maloney said in a statement. "It's no excuse but I was so caught up in relaying the story exactly as it was told to me that, in doing so, I repeated a word that should never be repeated."

Maloney, who is challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for the 2010 Democratic Senate nomination in New York, used the full racial slur in an interview with the Web site City Hall while taking aim at Gillibrand's record.

"I got a call from someone from Puerto Rico, said [Gillibrand] went to Puerto Rico and came out for English-only [education]. And he said, 'It was like saying n-r to a Puerto Rican,'" Maloney said. "I don't know-I don't know if that's true or not. I just called. I'm just throwing that out. All of her-well, what does she stand for?"

Earlier Monday, the Rev. Al Sharpton - a supporter of Gillibrand's bid - sharply criticized Maloney for using the word.

"The quote by Congresswoman Maloney if accurate is alarming and disturbing at best," he said in a statement. "No public official even in quoting someone else should loosely use such an offensive term and should certainly challenge someone using the term to him or her."

The controversy comes the same day Maloney is set to hold a big-ticket fundraiser that includes an appearance from former President Bill Clinton. Clinton has also attended a fundraiser for Gillibrand.


Filed under: Carolyn Maloney • Extra
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. John K.

    Is the NAACP planning on protesting outside of her offices? I doubt it.

    July 20, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. April in Texas

    While I don't use the N- word, I don't find it any more wrong than when one is called a cracker or whitey as racisim is a two way street. If whites are not allowed to speak certain words then it fair to say african americans shouldnt be able to use those words either. It is confusing to white children when they hear this N-word used by blacks and yet condemed if they use it. Ironic isnt it that you dont see many whites scream about the word cracker or whitey.. Way to go affirmative action..

    July 20, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. history repeats

    are you kidding me?! why would she have to apologize for that!??! words should not be forbidden. the context should be examined and THOUGHT should be applied to the reaction. the problem is people are sheep and just dont know how to use their brains, so simple WORDS offend them more than ACTIONS. thats why bush was elected! LETS GO TO WAR says bush OK says the sheep!!

    July 20, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. David

    Yes – it was wrong of her to say it and Al Sharpton is the biggest example of a racist there is.

    July 20, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. Hugo

    I applaud her skill of the english language, she be my cracka! Why should she apologize, has anyone watched the Maury Povich show lately?

    July 20, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. Rick H.

    A black man using the N word isnt taken to task.....so why should anyone? Personally I think NO one should use the word....including persons of color.

    July 20, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. VnVet

    I agree with some of the comments that are posted. Until African-Americans stop using the word, there is no right for complaining when others use it.

    July 20, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Tim Krug

    Im sickened when white people say it, im even more sickened when afro-americans call each other that then good ol Jesse or Al is up somebodys butt for saying it.

    July 20, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Clearly the Republicans are the racists though right! I'm sure the media and all you liberal bloggers will find a away to rationalize this woman's racism and brush it under the rug. Hey, maybe she'll even get some kind of award for being an equal rights activist, that'll really quash this story. If she had an (R) after her name, you bet the media and everyone on this blog would have her tarred and feathered!

    July 20, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Zero.

    What they need is another CNN opinion poll. So far just about everything Obama failed in was glorified by CNN..

    July 20, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. DawnL,CA

    First, I wish Al Sharpton would just go away, He does the black community no favors-if I see him on TV I just switch channels.
    If the black people find this word so offensive, then they should go after their own entertainers & black people who often use this offensive word.

    July 20, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. TexasRepublicDemocrat

    The day that every rapper stops using the N word in every other sentence, is the day that Sharpton can criticize Maloney.

    July 20, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. history repeats

    Fair is Fair

    yea just sit around and pray. politicians and rulers have known that its the DOERS that get things done. tell people that praying is DOING something and you take them out of the equation. once people start thinking they are making a difference by sittin gin their living room talking to god then whats the point of leaving their house and protesting or getting involved in making the world a better place? thats why the republicans need to be replaced by a BETTER party. because the base is either RICH or RELIGIOUS! the controllers and the controlled. the controllers tell their sheep that EVERYBODY ELSE is part of a conspiracy to keep them down and they ALL believe it. every sunday massive amounts of people get trained how to NOT believe in evidence and to only use FAITH aka THE GUT!!!

    July 20, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    It looks like Al's got it right about her, can't hide what you truly feel!

    July 20, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. LaQuemsha Collins

    I mean no ones should ever use that word but black americans. its our word and cant be use by crackers or Mexicans

    July 20, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. raw28

    Why must there always be a evil side to people? I am African American from the most racist city in American. (Chicago) I do not believe racism is proved when that word is used, maybe misjudgment. She apologized, I don't need to see her crucified. Al Sharpton has never been a moral voice for emotional intelligence.

    Why do you guys continue to cover him?

    July 20, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Andy

    Um, ladies and gentlemen: she was *quoting* someone. Does anyone understand the difference between making a statement and quoting it?

    July 20, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. deb

    Really, this media circus is getting out of hand. This is NOT news. I'm a white woman (57) who has never used the word. I really don't know anyone who uses it except African Americans. Now I suppose Jackson or Sharpton will want her to resign over this! Ridiculous!

    July 20, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  19. Mike

    Didn't jessie jackson use that word directed at Prez O?

    July 20, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  20. KeninTexas

    Who cares?

    July 20, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. Paul, CA

    Al Sharpton, thy name is hypocrisy!! C'mon America. Grow up about these so called "equality" crusaders.

    July 20, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. Craig

    She made a mistake, nice to see that we in the black community have it so easy that our biggest problem is a slip up by a woman in congress.

    July 20, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Shawn from MS

    This is rediculous. I am so sick and tire of this N-word crap. It's a word. Get over it. It wasn't even used in a racist context. Even in the orginial quote. What ever happened to free speech. I am not racist but we still live in a free country and if i want to i should be able to say a word. This is comparable to the Muslims and thier outrage over a cartoon of Mohammad. It's rediculous. And how is it not racist for it to be ok for a black person to say it but not ok for a white person to say it. I'm so sick and tired of this double standard crap. I think we white poeple should start a campain to get Salteen Crackers banned because the name hurts our feelings. BoooHoo. Get over it. Al and Jesse think they have got to keep this crap stirred up because if they don't then people will start to think we have moved on and they will be out of a job. Not that they actually have a real job. I'm sure CNN won't post this but it made me so mad i just had to respond.

    July 20, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Fla.

    If someone uses that type of nonsense, they should NOT be in public office. Period. Maloney should know better than even using the word in reference. How sad.

    Senator Gillibrand deserves to keep her seat. Godspeed.

    July 20, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. alpha_nu_916

    blah, blah, blah. is there not more important issues that can be discussed?
    republicans make feeble attempts to show outrage.
    democrats fake sympathy.
    as a thrity year old asian-american, i listen to hip-hop with the n-word repeatedly peppering the lyrics & crap like this just doesn't bug me any more. look at the context in which it was used; this congresswoman is just repeating what was said to her.

    July 20, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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