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

Maloney apologizes for using N word

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/20/art.maloney.gi.jpg caption="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. marini shull

    100% right Jon. If a Republican had said that, they would have been FORCED to retire. it would have been HEADLINE news on the drive by websites and on tv. double standard indeed.

    July 20, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. HAHA!

    curb your enthusiasm'd

    July 20, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. Elaine B

    You give words power when you make them anathema. N is just a word, and she wasn't using it for herself, she was quoting someone else – and negatively. Give the poor woman a break!
    Notice I didn't use it here, because if I had it would have meant this piece could not appear. Suggest anyone who isn't sure check out the documentary, "The N Word" that gives good arguments why this sort of ridiculousness has gone on long enough.

    July 20, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. usmc8542

    First i dont see how you can NOT use the word its just a word as with any other Racial slur or racial names that we have picked out for other races other than Blacks. I bet 1 to a Million Al & Jessie still to this day use the word but in slain. So i guess that makes it alright

    July 20, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. Nevada Joe

    OH...Sharpton will have the "BIG ONE" now....He will whine and moan for a month.. BIG DEAL..

    July 20, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  6. DB25

    While it's not a nice word – it seems she was recounting a story that was told to her, according to the article. She probably shouldn't have repeated it verbatim – but It's not as if she was saying it TO someone or about someone! I think we need to relax a little bit on this one people. Can we talk about something more important than this story?

    July 20, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. Fed up

    What is this, third grade? Oh, she said a naughty word! Give me a break

    July 20, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. whocares

    who cares!
    Al, just be quiet and go away! I hope to never read about you again.

    July 20, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. John

    Nope, sorry no mistakes allowed. Off with her head. Oh wait, she's a democrat, never mind. She didn't mean it.

    July 20, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. James

    Being a black man, I cant understand the n-word being used at all, just l cant understand my Hispanic friends calling each other fool, and the n-word, or my white friends calling each other redneck, its something about those words that pitch people into an era, or demographic that is associated with ignorance, uncivilized, vulgar and violent.

    I was taught if you dont have anything good to say, than say nothing at all. So, I assume that the people that use these terms, simply don't know how they affect not only the people they address, but themselves as well.

    July 20, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  11. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Nice. That's what you get for dipping into the dirty politics bucket. Make yourself look worse then your opponent.

    July 20, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  12. Black Texas

    you whites tickle me. What if i was a black polititian and I said, "It's like saying HONKIE or MOUNTAIN WOP

    July 20, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Rob

    We should all stop using the word. I'm black–hate the word and hate to hear others use it...even in music. It's a word that should just dissapear.

    July 20, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. kjpl

    Debby... I am responding to your comment.

    This is one of the things I guess "white" people don't understand. Although I don't agree with it, some African Americans are ok with calling one another "ghetto" or the "N" word. In my opinion, when "white" people use those words towards us, one of the memories it brings back is what it represented then, and still nowadays, to our race. That is HATE.

    So, don't be too quick to jump to conclusions when someone like Sharpton or Jackson come to our defense. Yes, sometimes I think they should let things go, but if they don't say anything at all, it will open the door for every ignorant person to make some type of racial comment.

    July 20, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  15. Squealy

    Jon, if "far more" liberals than republicans (which is not even an equal comparison – lets try liberals vs. conservatives or repubs vs dems?) are racist, but they only hide it better, how is it you have seen it if it is so well hidden? Show examples, because I highly disagree with that statement. Not that there are not plenty of racist dems (and perhaps even libs), but I still think the conservative repubs have the corner on that market.

    Johnnie – what's with all the parentheses?

    July 20, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. riddy_d

    Isn't it silly seeing adults using the term "N-word?" What are we, adolecents? The reason there is fascistic censorship towards the use of this word has nothing to do with history, and everything to do how people REALLY feel towards blacks (sorry, AA's) i.e lazy, stupid, oversexed, violent

    July 20, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  17. Right Leaning Independent

    I can not wait to read how all the Democrats bloggers on here will spin this so it is no big deal when they would slay a Republican for saying this.

    July 20, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. zuq

    unacceptable at all levels. As a democrat, I hope she doesn't get elected.

    July 20, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  19. OK she apologized

    I can see how someone could accidentally say this word if they were relating something someone else said. I've said that word when repeating Dave Chapelle's jokes. Now that i know Al Sharpton will go after me i won't do that again.

    I doubt her voting record reflects that of someone who uses this word and means it.

    July 20, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Blind Lemming

    Excuse me, but demonizing this word does nothing other than give it more power than it deserves. Should books by such writers as Dick Gregory, Joseph Conrad and H. Rap Brown be banned because this word is in their title? What about Mark Twain, George Carlin and others who have used this word in the past?

    Banning words, and books, and ideas, is pure and absolute ignorance, and the current "ban" on this word is clearly a zero-tolerance policy that makes no sense at all.

    Is "Honky" still allowed?

    July 20, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. Frank

    People should cut her some slack if she was just repeating a comment that she was criticizing.

    But, by the same token, she should use better judgment.

    July 20, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I have NO DOUBT that Sharpton uses the "N" word regularly.

    He is such an irritant. Who gives him the right to be spokesman for everything/everyone African American?

    July 20, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  23. He's kidding, isn't he?

    How dare she speak in such a fashion. She definitely must be a protege of that NYC bigot, Geraldine Ferraro!

    July 20, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  24. Bridgett F Hollis

    As a African American I think at times we give that word to much power. Ms Maloney did not call anyone that name nor did she refer to any person as a Niger. She merely was stating exactly what was said.

    No one should use it loosely nor use it to refer to individuals at any time, however, if I am repeating something that was heard why can't I sayt exactly what I heard. A personal attack on Maloney is unfair Mr. Al. I do support many of your causes but this is not a fight.

    July 20, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. matt

    who cares Al sharpton is racist against whites and jews so whats the difference

    July 20, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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