During a live radio interview, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dropped the N-word in a statement while calling into Albany’s WAMC radio on Tuesday, October 15.
Cuomo, the older brother of CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo, was discussing the New York Times’ recent think-piece titled, “How Italians Became ‘White.”
“The Times also said in an article the other day, apropos of nothing, they were talking about it. Going back to the Italian-Americans because now you have me. They 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*gg*r wops,’ said the New York native.
He quickly cleaned up his language, rephrasing part of his statement, using the abbreviated version, “N-word wops, as a derogatory comment,” Cuomo continued.
Alan Chartock, WAMC’s host during the interview, did not respond to Gov. Cuomo’s use of racist language.
While some called for Cuomo to apologize, including New York Public Advocate Jumanne Williams, reports The New York Daily News.
“The flippant and unnecessary use of the word on live radio gives people further permission to use this racist term that remains a stain on this country," declared Williams. "The Governor should understand that regardless of what community he was referencing, the misguided use of the word still rings with hundreds of years of pain, and should apologize for that. But hey, at least it wasn’t Blackface.”
But others are defending the 61-year-old.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who is Black, spoke out about Cuomo’s comment. The New York Daily News says Heastie supported Cuomo saying, “The Governor was quoting a New York Times story and was using it for context. I didn’t take any offense at his comments.”
According to NBC 4, Cuomo’s office has not released an official comment as of Tuesday afternoon.