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. Gentwelve

    According to Reverened Al, only brothas and sistas and gangstas can usee the N-word. Shows what a farce this guy is!

    July 20, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. HolyKow

    This word needs to be abolished. No one, black, white, orange, yellow, purple, brown, or polka-dot should EVER use this word under any circumstances. It represents a dark era of humanity and we will not grow as a society until it is abolished. We need to get to a point where if you use this most foul of words, that you are shunned by society at large. Some argue that they can use it because they are black. Some argue that it does not only apply to black people, so it is not racist (laughable, but they say that to try to make themselves seem not racist). No one. Not anyone under any circumstance should stoop to that level ever again.


    July 20, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Phat Elvis

    it doesnt matter who uses it, it is in poor taste. and it gives grandstanders on both sides a platform to exhort hyperbole and demagoguery that diminishes the dialog on respect and acceptance of our obvious physical differences.

    July 20, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Deep Throat

    That she even listens to demagogue Sharpton is enough to
    disqualify her for this job. Of course, Puerto Ricans can't vote
    for any Senator. But kookie Maloney took the call anyway.
    Is it possible she doesn't know this?

    July 20, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. Cynthia in Raleigh

    Ignorance comes in all colors. I get so tired of hearing the argument that black people use the word. No, IGNORANT black people use the word just like ignorant racist white people. To point out that black people use it only makes you look defensive and solves nothing.

    I am black and in the context of how Maloney used the word I am not offended. But that word doesn't just roll off your tongue. It's like accidentally saying the f-word...if you don't swear you're not going to use the word even if you're quoting someone. So I do question why it was so easy for her to say. Hmmmm....

    Debby, Sharpton and Jackson remind me of drunk uncles I run away from at family reunions. I too know very few black people that care for either, and again I'm black!!

    July 20, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. Bonnie

    Oh My goodness, since an African-American was elected President, they are coming out of the woodwork like roaches, Pat Buchannan has literally lost his mind, like many others, soo sad. I am just amazed at how powerful ignorance is in the year 2009. Just amazing, sad and pathetic, but amazing.

    July 20, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. John

    She's a dope, but she made a mistake.

    That said....

    Sharpton is a moron for blowing this all out proportion, in yet another attempt to make a story out of nothing..

    CNN is wasting our time for writing reporting this story

    We're all dopes for reading it

    and, All those who commented have a special place in stupidland, including me, for taking the time to respond to this non-story.

    July 20, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. republicans hate america

    isnt that N word they are talking about the one that is so freely stated by black people in their rap and conversations with each other?

    July 20, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. David De Vore

    are you kidding me, people are actually upset that his woman used the word as she was telling a story of what was told to her, and this is NEWS???? As a black man I know this is a dirty word to be thrown around, but I think people should stop being hypocrites when this word is used by other people besides Blacks. If Al or anyone is really so upset by this word, then lets really show an effort to rid it from our music, movies and every day conversation. Until we are really ready to rid this word from everyone stop acting like high and mighty babies when someone uses this word. It's only a word and has power when you give it power.

    July 20, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Josper

    Shame on CNN for censoring their news. It's not up to you to decide what I can and can't handle. If she used a word, tell me what that word was. I'm not 5 years old.
    Journalism is a joke.

    July 20, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. TjayeInLA

    Well, I don't generally get up in arms over the use of a 5 or 6 letter word, depending on how you pronounce it, but it seems the way she relayed the story, the usage wasn't all that foreign to her.

    Either way, we have real issues to deal with. I can't believe our tax dollars were spent while she took the time to apologize. Do that mess on your own time.

    July 20, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. makesUwonder

    Why is it Al Sharpton will criticize white people that use the "N" word, but I have never heard him criticize a black person for using the "N" word. If I'm wrong regarding Al Sharpton and the "N" word, please someone point me to the report. I would love to read it or hear the report.

    July 20, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. DX in TX

    CNN, I beg of you please stop seeking comments from Rev.Al Sharpton every time it has to do with race relations. You people make him more important than he really is to the black community.
    Don't get me wrong, I feel we need the Sharptons, Jacksons, Limbaughs and Coulters of the world. However, just like Anne Coulter doesn't speak for every Republican, Al Sharpton doesn't speak for every one of us African American in the U.S.
    I love Al, but I don't always find him helpful as it relates to race relations.
    So please, PLEASE find another black voice!
    Dx in TX

    July 20, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. Kirsten

    Wow, there are some extremely stupid and bigoted comments in this blog. I guess that's what anonymity will do...

    Anyway, irrespective of whether Maloney is a racist, she's an idiot. Who in their right mind, yet alone a politician with national aspirations, would use any foul language in an interview, yet alone THAT word?!?

    July 20, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. Jim

    Only the slums of either side are keeping us racially divided, sort of like politics! Drop the N word, ALL OF YOU. Al, get a job.

    July 20, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. Doodeloo

    We has worked so hard to eratcicate this evil word that to this day is still uttered by these devils who cannot respeck the black culture. This word has longed been erased from use in the black communities around our country, thanks to the leadership of Reverend Sharpton. Because, of this, it is doubly wrong to hear it used in this contex.

    July 20, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. leet222

    But I thought that democrats were perfect and overwhelmingly sensitive to political correctness!!!!

    This must be a republican plot!!!

    July 20, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Rob

    Oh please. She was just repeating what someone was saying. Do you know how many times I'm on the street in NYC or on the subway and here an African American say the same thing to each other?! Or to a white person?

    July 20, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. Down with Maloney......

    clearly a racist pig.

    July 20, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  20. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Al Sharpton is nothing if not an opportunist....and we New Yorkers know it. The fact that he is supporting an upstate candidate who has a spotty record on abortion rights and responsible gun control says that he is not motivated by the issues – its all about political power for him.

    Maloney's gaffe will blow over. And, no thanks to Sharpton, we will once again have to do damage control within the Democratic Party before the general election comes around.

    July 20, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. JR

    Rev. Al Sharpton — a supporter of Gillibrand's bid

    Sounds like the bias is Sharpton's, all this brouhaha over her "repeating" a bad word.

    July 20, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. rjoco

    she should resign and be banished. this language has no place in america--oops she's a democrat, carry on

    July 20, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |

    If your white dont say n--r or generalize a whole group of people for saying n--a .... There are a lot of black youths you say n--a but not all... This is the most controversial word of all time it feels like... yet it is just a word... White people should avoid saying it in any context... Black people should as well... but it is not as important as white people using it becase... BLACK PEOPLE ARE THE ONES WHO DETERMINE ITS SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE..... DUH!!!

    July 20, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Michael Alexander

    Get over it. White people say the N word constantly.
    Democrat, Republican ,east coast, west coast, midwest and well the South its like saying hello.

    Americans are just racists in nature regardless. Even mother teresa probably said the N word. It feels good to white people to say it.

    Get over it.

    July 20, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. tws1906 in NC

    The focus is all wrong..AL and others..she said she was repeating a call she received...it was not like she used it to harm anyone.

    I guess after Michael Jackson's funeral, Al needs something to do.

    July 20, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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