Equality Florida, Democratic Progressive Caucus call for removal of Artiles from Florida state senate [UPDATE]

By : Alexis Vilaboy
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(Image from Florida House of Representatives website.)

UPDATE:

As of April 21, Sen. Artiles has resigned over the issue of his insensitivity.

“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Artiles wrote, according to the Miami Herald. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.”

“It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth.”

“[Senate President Joe] Negron forced Artiles to apologize on the Senate floor Wednesday for his alcohol-fueled racist and sexist Monday night tirade against Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville,” the Herald reports. “But black lawmakers outraged at Artiles for calling Gibson a “bitch” and a “girl” — and for referring to some Republicans as “niggas” — said saying sorry was not enough: They formally sought his expulsion from the Senate.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Republican Florida Senator Frank Artiles was engaged in a heated conversation with Democratic senators Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston when he used racial and misogynistic slurs to describe Senate President Joe Negron and how he got elected at the members-only Governor’s Club near Tallahassee April 17.

“Once again, Florida Senator Frank Artiles’ bigotry is all over the news, this time because of racist, sexist and homophobic slurs used against his Senate colleagues and lobbyists in Tallahassee earlier this week,” said Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director Hannah Willard in a statement. “We call on Senate Leadership to demonstrate an authentic and unmistakable commitment to upholding a standard of basic decency by removing Artiles from office.”

Artiles has since apologized for his remarks. This is not Artiles’ first offense in publicly using hate speech.

In 2015, Artiles was accused of —and denied —punching a college student in the face in Tallahassee while outside a bar. This past Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported about a 2014 incident in which Artiles used an anti-Muslim slur.

The Democratic Progressive Caucus also called on the senator to resign.

“[Artiles’] offensive comments compel us to address the elephant in the room: this language and behavior is becoming commonplace among Republican legislators,” said Susan Smith, president of DPCF, in a statement.

After apologizing for his behavior, Artiles proceeded to announce his re-election to the press.

“Senate President Joe Negron must formally condemn Artiles’ bigoted remarks and acknowledge this disturbing trend,” Smith’s statement continued. “We implore Senate leaders to orchestrate Artiles’ removal. Anything short of that will leave the impression that the Republican legislature condones and promotes this sort of behavior.”

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