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. abraxis

    There is racial prejudice and hypocrisy on both sides of the aisles, Dem and Repugs. The question is racism, discrimination based on race, is so pervasive that the common sense it as seeped into the common daily language that we all use.

    That we need is an honest discussion of how racism, and all means of discrimination, exists and who benefit and who are exploited. How we eradicate discrimination is based on how we answer this problematic question!

    July 20, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. B

    Everyone needs to remember something, people make mistakes. But she was being an idiot, so whatever. Democrat or republican, using any racial slur is uncalled for against anyone. Period. If I recall right, wasn't it the republicans who were using the N word during the Palin rally against President Obama? Republicans don't be so quick to point fingers since you are doing the exact same thing ALL THE TIME. Either way God don't like ugly!

    July 20, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Jason

    This is no different than a white person singing a rap song they heard and repeating it. Why not just get rid of the word all together...AL? Oh that's right...gotta keep the double standard going. And for all you people that call maloney racist for quoting someone...you're dumb

    July 20, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. stephen

    Its never a suprise that a black person or group of black people will look for every opportunity to demonize a white person even under accidental recounting of someone elses comment. Who is the real racist when your looking for a chance to call out " The white people" or when you say all white people are racist who is the real racist Ive listened to rap all my life and heard blacks call each other that for 30 years and it was all good then hypocrites

    July 20, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. Eric reporting live

    I guess I don't see what the fuss is about. She simply repeated a story. Sure, she was really wanting to make sure the intensity of her remarks were felt but she didn't call anyone this term, nor did she insinuate.

    I'm a pretty liberal guy myself and I hate the word when it's used against someone. Living in Tennessee, you hear it a lot. But this situation is more politics than passion, in my opinion.

    July 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. Chad from IA

    Multiculturalism at its best! Division that separates us!

    July 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. Tim S.

    Anne E., you know darn well that if it had been a white MAN or a Conservative who had made that comment, that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson AND the NAACP would raise caine; protest, and boycott until that person was fired or resigned. Let's stop with the double standard ACROSS the board. If the word is not acceptable, then it is NOT aceeptable.

    July 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  8. Kai in ATL

    I am black and I think that word is despicable and should never be used by anyone. It's the worst insult imaginable. I know that they're are black people who use the world casually and attempt to justify it., but it's unjustifiable even amongst black people. It means what it means no matter who uses it.

    July 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Brian L.

    Ha! Maloney tried to use racism to taint Sen. Gillibrand and it backfired on her. She deserves all the flack she gets for this.

    July 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Dr. Detroit

    Senator Allen said the word, "mecacca" and lost the presidency to a socialist. The honorable Representative should at least by flogged in public by Al or Jessee ,the thought police.

    July 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. Sean the thinker

    I'm confused about this issue. Was she quoting Gillibrand when she said the "N" word, or was she quoting someone else?

    July 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. BH

    So is she going to resign? A Republican would be forced out in disgrace for the same thing. Or does that rule not apply to Democrats?

    July 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  13. Stop the Robber Baron Insurance Companies and The Republicans they Bribe

    Who cares?
    The real story today is the increasingly shrill tone from the republicans and their minions at the health insurance companies.

    Jim DeMint (R-Aetna) wants Obama to fail.
    He got close to $ 3million from the health insurance industry over the last five years.

    The g.o.p. is following the May talking points of Frank Lunz

    Call your congressman or woman. Demand the Public Option
    Support the President

    July 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. Dennis

    If a Republican had said it that be the end of his or her career. Still I hear blacks use the term all the time. What is that all about?

    July 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Give me a break

    Ridiculous. Yes the word is offensive but 1) she was giving details on something said to her and 2) it's use was an analogy of how offensive the word is.

    July 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  16. Josh you need to put this up

    Can you imagine the reaction if she was a Republican? I've seen far more racism from liberals than from conservatives…liberals just hide it better…this will also be hidden and excused by the liberal media…by the end of this news cycle I'm sure it will somehow be the Rupublicans fault…liberals will blame Gingrich or Limbaugh or Palin for this…I'm surprised Sharpton hadn't done that already…

    I was going to put the same exact thing. The hypocrisy of this nation is ridiculous.

    jackie of louisville

    That is not at all true. One of my best friends is black and I'm in the South. Sure there are plenty of people that are still racist, but it is overblown and not near as bad

    July 20, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. Give me a break

    Looks like I can't sing along with rap songs anymore. Heaven forbid I recite the same words as 2Pac, Biggie, Wu Tang, Snoop, Dre...

    July 20, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. nclaw441

    Since she is a democrat, she will no doubt keep her job. Had she been a republican...

    July 20, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. Mrs. Ann

    I think people over react when the N word is used but what the non black world don't understand is what that word means when it's coming from someone that isn't black. That word has been used to degrade blacks for many, many years and no it shouldn't be in music but then who do you think runs the recording companies it definiftely not the black musicans. No it's white men mostly and they have and will always have the power and it's all about money. So get a little compassion will you. Take Chris for instance "low working (non-working) class of these people. I bet he/she doesn't think he/she is racist.

    July 20, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. Malcolm

    As an African-American male, I'm getting rather sick of the ambulance chasing antics of Al Sharpton and the like. I don't know Maloney but judging from the story, she was simply telling of a call she got and what the individual said and that the caller used the N-word to indicate how offended he was. The smartest thing for her to say? Certainly not. However, the "Reverend" Sharpton needs to use a little blblical teaching of his own – why not clean up the use of the N-word and other derogatory behavior in our own communities before trying to chastise others for the use of the N-word? The garbage I hear on urban radio every day by so-called "artists" offends me a thousand times more than Ms. Maloney's use of the N-word in this instance.

    July 20, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. Tatianna

    Getto-fabulous Debbie, why is it when a dem utters racial slur its considered slip of the tongue a mistake. But all heck breaks out when reps utter it, they are labeled racist or bigot. Is it different strokes for different folks. I suppose calling out someone for ushng the n-word is merely dribble, fair to say? I wonder if people like Debbie easily dismissed IMUS remarks towards the black female basket ball players. If not for pimping black grievances, the dynamic duo – Al and Jackson would be unemployed. BTW, MLK jr was a registered republican.

    July 20, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. SH

    It's the context, not the usage that matters.

    July 20, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  23. Dave in Illinois

    Focus on the issues and their standard on them, not some distraction of Maloney failing to sanitize her quoting of someone else who was making a poor comparision.

    July 20, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  24. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    AS a 45 yr old African American man, how in the hell, can anyone of you African Americans get mad at someone else of another race saying the word, when you ignorant people walk around everyday DISRESPECTING one another saying it with no shame. I've been in plenty of arguments with black people about the word. It's degrading and it's disrespectful to our race. Thousands have died trying to get equal treatment in this country and now we have these ignorant fool out here just bringing shame to the race. Our ancestors must be rolling in their graves for what they see and hear from this generation of ignorant blacks. From slavery to Jim Crow to the Civil Rights movement, they fought and died for what, so these ignorant fools can kill one another, walk around with their pants hanging off their butts, dropping out of school, disrespecting the old people and the kids in the neighborhood, it's a SHAME!!!!!!!!!!

    July 20, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. non issue

    true, it's a reprehensible word but the fact of the matter is there was no malicious intent in it's use. sharpton is the epitome of an opportunist.

    July 20, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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