New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is being criticized for using a racial slur for African Americans while discussing historical discrimination toward dark-skinned Italian immigrants, the AP reports. Cuomo used the slur Tuesday in an interview on WAMC radio while speaking about Columbus Day and a recent New York Times article about how Italians overcame bigotry in the US. The Democrat seemed to realize the word might bother people. What he said, per Fox News: "[The Times] used an expression that Southern Italians were called, I believe they were saying Southern Italians, Sicilians—I’m half Sicilian—were called, quote-unquote and pardon my language, but I’m just quoting the Times: [n-word] [derogatory slur once commonly lobbed against Italians].'" Fox notes that the Times did, indeed, use the uncensored n-word in its article.
The second time, he did censor himself: "N-word [derogatory Italian slur], as a derogatory comment," he said. Some people did not pardon his language: Black Institute founder Bertha Lewis said Cuomo appears to think he has so much privilege he can say anything. But New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he didn't take offense at Cuomo's comments. Heastie is the assembly's first African American leader. Cuomo's office declined to comment. The incident comes after Cuomo's brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has himself been in hot water over saying in 2017 that the term "fake news" was like "the n-word for journalists" and then, this year, saying "Fredo" was the Italian-American version of the n-word. (An actress was also in hot water Tuesday over singing along to the n-word.)