Racist attack on black lawmakers proves this politician isn’t just anti-LGBT

Frank Artiles
State Sen. Frank ArtilesPhoto: AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File

Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles went off on a verbal tear against black lawmakers on Monday night, using the n-word, and calling one a “fucking asshole,” a “bitch,” and a “girl,” according to two African-American state senators, the Miami Herald reports.

Artiles, over drinks at the Governors Club, told Senators Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston that Senate President Joe Negron had risen to his leadership role thanks to “six ni—rs” in the Republican caucus electing him. It is unclear what he meant, since, as the Herald notes, the only black senators in the state senate are all Democrats, none of whom backed Negron.

“He called Joe Negron a pussy,” Thurston added.

He also referred to Gibson as “this fucking asshole” and “this bitch,” Gibson said.

Another individual who was present at the table asked about Artiles also calling Gibson a “girl,” to which Artiles said he didn’t mean it disrespectfully.

He publicly apologized on Wednesday, but it was not enough to keep Negron from stripping Artiles of his chairmanship of the Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee.

“I’m not going to tolerate any senator treating another senator with that level of disrespect, and using words that show racial bias, gender bias, or show a complete disregard for the right of another person to be left alone,” Negron told reporters.

Democrats are calling for Artiles to resign, and Negron, a Republican, has not ruled out expulsion for violating Senate rules, Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Artiles is also intolerant of the LGBTQ community.

In 2015, he proposed HB 583, titled “Single-Sex Public Facilities,” that went after transgender rights. The bill, which died in Judiciary Committee, read:

Provides purpose & legislative findings; requires that use of single-sex public facilities be restricted to persons of sex for which facility is designated; prohibits knowingly & willfully entering single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of other sex; provides criminal penalties; provides private cause of action against violators; provides exemptions; provides applicability with respect to other laws; provides for preemption.

Artiles also co-sponsored a bill, HB 43, allowing churches to refuse to marry same-sex couples. That bill became law when Gov. Rick Scott signed it in March 2016.

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