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. lonnie

    no matter how disgusting a word, it cannot be banned, given the fact that such an action goes against everything a democracy stands for. That being said, it is a sad day when an adult is slammed for using a word like that somewhat "responsibly" (notice the quotes).She wasn't name calling or using it maliciously. The story she was relating wasn't even using it in such a way. So what is the problem????
    I hear people that this word supposedly offends use it as a form of endearment, so WHAT IS THE PROBLEM????
    When we let a word divide us like this, what hope is there for a true union :(

    July 20, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. stovall

    Take a hike maloney, you blew and you blew it big time. You repeated a terrible word that whats told to you, therefore that was here say, if it had came directly from you it would be different. Bottom line get loss.

    The n-word didnt have't to brought up at all.

    July 20, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. texas outlaw

    Just think of all the words Sharpton has used and quoted.
    This is over the top even for him.
    She was letting people know the truth about her opponent in politics.
    Grow up Sharpton and anyone else who is not mature enough to hear real words used in a real world.

    July 20, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Rayshawn Ordway

    I'am so sick and tired of people saying the "n" word it seems nomatter how strong Al Sharpton feels that people shouldn't say the "n" word, people are still going to say the "n" word anyway!!!!!! I have an idea it may sound drastic: my idea is that every single person in America and around the world who says the "n" word everyday or daily or once in a while should be apart of a unique surgical operation to delete that person's use of the "n" word it's kinda like that person never heard of the "n" word before, does anybody agrees with my idea?......anybody?

    July 20, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Just say it

    Why do we treat "the N word" like it's an obscenity? It's just a word. Time to grow up.

    July 20, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Joseph Finn

    Why is it if a Republican said this they would be forced to resign?
    I guess White Women Democrats get a hall pass on the N word.

    July 20, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Tatianna

    Never underestimate the sinister nature of the left

    July 20, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Thank God, the generations coming up now seem to not even see color. They are such a mixture of all races. I see all the kids hanging out together. It makes me proud!

    July 20, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Obama only creates TAXES

    Why apologize for the word, Mr Sharpton needs to apologize to the white race for his consistant racsist remarks and continually using race to promote his agenda. It is the same as Obama. Racism is still alive because it is the blacks who continue to bring it to the forfront. Case in point look at Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. Maybe its time forthe whites to start rioting, looting, and complaining about discrimination because we are now the minority.

    July 20, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. John

    Whatever. This is why America is going to burn. All of you PC peeps. It's disgusting that most of you are appauled by this. Good luck to you in your next life.

    July 20, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Dimslie

    Such PC foolishness. The first slave ship arrived in Virginia in 1619. The muster of inhabitants of Virginia in 1624/25 used the Enwerd in describing a slave named Pedro, and records from that time onward use it frequently. All the wild stories notwithstanding, it came about simply by having Englishmen trying to pronounce Negra, the Spanish word for "black". The negative connotation that the word has acquired over the last four centuries comes from either: (a) the way that blacks have been treated by whites; or, (b) their behavior. You decide which.

    In my lifetime, blacks have wanted to be called colored, then Nigras (listen to a tape of tennis great Arthur Ashe saying Negro if you doubt this), Negroes (pronounced "knee-grows"), soul brothers, soul men, Blacks, Afro-Americans, and, lately, African-Americans. How long will it be before whites refer to the "A-A" word in hushed tones and with a mock sense of horror?

    July 20, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. Cheryl

    What has the world come to when a word obtains such magical power that it can never be said aloud. Words are just sounds, it's the intent of those words that matters. Words should never be used to hurt, insult, or otherwise attack people but it's ridiculous to say that any word can never be made reference to even in a neutral fashion. What's next, taking that word out of the dictionary? We need to do everything we can to combat racism but condemning the words themselves rather than the people who say them is misguided.

    July 20, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. Jon

    But Democrats are never racist and would certainly never use such words becasue they are so angelic they wouldn't even know such words. If she were a Republican minorities would be calling for her head on a pike.

    July 20, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Larry

    Alright Rev. Al, if you are complain about some politician saying the "N" word, which I find offensive also, you need to start complaining and preaching to all the rappers, comedians and others who use the word so freely. Granted, those people are mostly black, but the word is still offensive no matter who's mouth it comes from.

    July 20, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Army Colonel deserting GOP

    What a shock – New Yorker using a slang derogatory phrase for an ethic group to recall words of a conversation! The next thing we hear will be somebody, somewhere from the City dropping the "f-bomb" – think how offended we can all pretend to be then! I'm just glad we don't have a war, a recession or health care issues to worry about...

    July 20, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. Trey

    She was quoting someone else's usage of the word. She wasn't using it herself. She was repeating what someone else said.

    President Obama's book has the word in it several times over, and he's said it in his recorded reading of the book.

    Get over it people. She wasn't using it to be racist, just as Obama wasn't when he had it in his book or recording. Both times were quotes of other people. No one has criticized Obama for the usage, and he stands far higher than this public official.

    July 20, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. GIBBS

    don't sweat it caroline......like you, i am tired of being politically correct....it's an actual word and should be used when appropriate. there are a lot of them like there ara a lot of white trash people!.

    July 20, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. TSO

    How come no one ever talks about the fact that many (not all or even a majority) blacks are racists towards whites. No one ever speaks to that. Where do you stand on that, Al? We now have a black man in the white house, put there primarily by white voters. Enough is enough. If you want to stand up and address the problems with the black community and their fitting in with mainstream America, speak to that, Al. Ebonics and Roca Wear are not going to get anyone placed in high level positions in this or any other society. . . .education and values will. Try helping "your" people with supportive words and recommendations rather than taking swings at these easy softballs. You will be taken more seriously. . . . .

    July 20, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Billy

    Isnt is such a strange time we are living in where the repetition of a word – even in a non-racist context – is a greater offense than actually doing harm to someone? I wonder when Al's protests and boycotts and calls for her resignation will begin.

    July 20, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. JCO

    I would love to see the reaction is she were a republican instead of a democrap.

    July 20, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Terry

    The whole issue is STUPID. Black people think they own the word, and only a black person can use it. All other races really never even use it. Notice all other races, this is not white only. Blacks are the most racist group out there, not only too whites. Blacks are even rascist with other blacks.

    July 20, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Steve In Tampa

    A democrat getting caught in the liberal PC trap..... The double standard is played out again..... Words only have the power that you give them.

    July 20, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. GOP = Party of Hypocrisy

    This is a non-issue.
    Maloney was repeating someone else's comment. It was not her thought or idea.
    Al Sharpton needs to tell rappers and Jesse Jackson to stop using the N-word who use it as their own thought. African Americans use the N-word more than anyone else and I find that degrading and disgusting.

    July 20, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. JJ

    Good thing she's a Democrat. If a Republican said it, they would be FORCED to RESIGN...

    July 20, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  25. Blue is my favourite colour

    The N word was buried by the NAACP a while back. I am offended by the use of all slang and curse words not because they are bad words but because they are used often by ignorant people, and I have ZERO tolerance for ignorant people.

    Now if we can only get everyone to stop calling people by their "genitals" when they are angry (on the street, in the movies, etc. ) That would be yet another milestone, but I won't hold my breath.....

    July 20, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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