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. Jon

    What she should have said was "when black people stop using it in hip hop I'll stop quoting it from other sources." The word would have died 20 years ago if not for rap lyrics. Al should try again in placing the blame.

    July 20, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. lescroc

    They can call us Hey Whitey, White Boy, honkey, etc and we can use a word that describe them to a "T". What fair is fair. She has no need to say sorry.

    July 20, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. jrzshor

    you are kidding? now we have to apologize for quoting some else's speech?

    what if i quote songs lyrics by NWA?

    July 20, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. Surge

    Apology accepted.

    July 20, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  5. Tim S.

    So much for free speech. Since my view contradicted the masses and CNN's agenda, I guess CNN does not want it seen!

    July 20, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. Tony G.

    Well, there goes one of many Democratic seats this coming election. Al, go away. I'm sure you use the word at least once a day. Black people have to stop using it before anything else. They claim it's so hurtful when it comes from someone not black but then turn around and use it themselves. Complete hypocrites.

    July 20, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. Mike in NYC

    Insanity. If using a word, any word, as part of a quote requires an apology, this country really has gone to the dogs.

    She didn't mean to do no wrong, people. She be just a White person who forgot her place. Bottom rail be on top now and all that, knowhumsayin'?

    While I personally do not employ ethnic colloquialisms for the purpose of group derision, I do occasionally use, and will continue to use, that dreaded word (and quite a few others) whenever the discussion calls for it.


    July 20, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. Jay Severin Has A Small Pen1s

    She wasn't calling someone the n word

    She was using it in the context of someone else saying it.

    I prefer the L word.

    July 20, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. Jean

    Face it, not all Republicans are racist, but if you are one, you are probably a Republican. Why do you think the deep South switched party to Republican? I don't think she meant to call negros the N word because she is Democrat. Unless she is a racist with a heart for social justice...

    July 20, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. John Jenkins

    I'm an African-American male and I strongly dislike the "N" word. However, Chris was very correct in saying that Al Sharpton needs to be just as critical of the Black community as he is of other races when they are caught using that word. Sharpton is a master at the "double standard".

    July 20, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. ozzman

    EVERYBODY'S racist...

    July 20, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Hopeful Optimist

    I'm a liberal Dem, and I occasionally use this word. Don't be so thin-skinned, Sharpton. I'm getting a little tired of seeing you and Jesse and your posse run to every little grass fire screaming racism. You don't see Obama cry foul every time someone does something like this. Maybe that's why he's Prez and you guys are not.

    Stay on the porch and let the big dogs hunt !!

    July 20, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Glenn

    It seems to me that Maloney was pointing out how horrible a thing it was to say something. It seems a strange thing to get upset about. Gillibrand was saying something horrible, and Maloney found a metaphor that illustrated just how horrible it was. I don't think Maloney thinks the n word is a good word to say to or about anyone. She chose to use it specifically because of its vileness, to illustrate how vile Gillibrand had been.

    July 20, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. John H.

    Sharpton again? Isn't he the felon-in-waiting for renting out his Aruba property and failing to report it as income?

    What a sponge - living off the backs of poor people while pretending to care!

    July 20, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Shirley In California Now On The Fence Re Obama

    As a black woman, I certainly find the word offensive but when I hear people say it-I never think it pertains to me as I have NEVER and will NEVER associate myself or any member of my family with that word. Having said that-maybe just maybe if black people would stop calling themselves that ignorant racist word (the late Richard Pryor is a prime example who made jokes about it) the word might just go away at least in the public mainstream. Until then, Al Sharpton and other black leaders will be venting. She's a racist pure and simple and on top of that she is very ignorant. All the reason-she doesn't need any public office.

    The word is not only offensive it is degrading and until black people stop making jokes about it and IF they keep calling themselves those names what do they expect others to do?

    July 20, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Steve

    I would suggest that Rev Al "educate" his brothers and sisters in removing the "N"-word from their collective vocabularies.

    July 20, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  17. jengoescrazy

    Republican's lose their job for using such terminology. Even if they're repeating it, as it's commonly used in 'black entertainment'.

    July 20, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. Jon

    I find it ironic that on one hand we keep hearing about how we need to unite and forget about race in this country, but CNN and other media organizations have programming with names like "Black in America" and "Black in America part 2". Give me a break...I'm sick and tired of all of this malarkey. Pick which one you want. Do you want unity and equality, or do you want people to feel different about you because you're "Black in America". As for this story, I bet that good ol Al has used "the N word" more than once just today. If he was really wanting to accomplish something he would work for his own race to stop using that term...then maybe the rest of the world would follow.

    July 20, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    Racism will finally end if we can get enough people to stop talking about it. What's wrong with just being American, instead of parading any ethnicity as a pride?

    July 20, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. John Mulhausen

    Really, CNN? Is the most important identifier for this woman that she is a Democrat? How about "NY Rep uses N-Word." "Congresswoman uses N-Word." "Senate Candidate uses N-Word."

    "Democrat uses N-Word." Why? Does the party really have to answer for the actions of someone who isn't even on the national stage yet, or is that just CNN attempting to paint with a broad brush?

    July 20, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. Dem in FL

    This is stupid. She was quoting someone else, for God's sake.

    what a crock!

    July 20, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Go away Al

    Al please stop speaking for me. I'm so sick of seeing your face or hearing your comments talking for the black people. We did not hold a secret meeting electing you spokes person.

    I hear THAT word more walking around a group of young black teenagers, listening to music or comedians. We should know better, we should be more outraged within our own community. We ALL need to erase the word from our collective vocabulary.

    July 20, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. FredG

    Sharpton is a joke. Calm the bleep down.

    July 20, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. Spinner Cash

    Funny. How do you like the practice of pollitcal correctness now?

    July 20, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  25. A. Time Traveler

    It’s a black’s only word. NO WHITES! Whites can use the ‘n-word.’ It’s just as good.

    July 20, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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