A local state lawmaker is stepping down as a ranking member of the House Democrats’ Rules Committee, after a Facebook Live video showed him using a homophobic slur that was directed at his political opponent.
Representative Al Jacquet discusses various topics in the video before he focuses on the upcoming primary and his opponent, Lake Worth Beach Commissioner Omari Hardy.
“I hear they got sleepy Hardy!” Jacquet says in the clip. “That’s all good. That’s their union boy, their (expletive), union boy.”
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council had asked the Florida House of Representatives to censure Jacquet or remove him from office before he stepped down from his role during a House Democrats caucus meeting on Wednesday.
According to Samantha Gross, a South Florida newspaper reporter:
Jacquet says he got passionate and heated and said the wrong thing.
“Nothing I said was an attack on any group … I should not have used the word … it’s like saying ‘I love you’ but instead saying ‘I love your big head.’”
— Samantha J. Gross (@samanthajgross) February 19, 2020
Hardy says, “I was disappointed. I was appalled, and I was offended. I ask that my fellow electeds condemn the Representative’s use of this slur, and I ask that the Representative apologize for using it.”
He adds, “While I am not gay, I was raised in a same-sex household by my two mothers, and I am offended for them and for the broader LGBTQ community here in Palm Beach County, where I serve.”
My opponent for Florida House District 88 referred to me using a gay slur. While I'm not gay, I am offended for our LGBTQ community in Palm Beach County and across the state of Florida. His bigoted rhetoric has no place in our politics. https://t.co/Baok2u6elW
— Commissioner Omari Hardy (@OmariJHardy) February 18, 2020
Jacquet released a statement Tuesday afternoon, which reads in part, “In the heat of the moment, I said something I should not have said,” Jacquet said. “I apologize for my words that have offended some of my colleagues.”
However, Hardy tells The Palm Beach Post he rejected the apology because, “This was an attempt to, in my opinion, to cover up the ugliness in himself that he revealed on Friday.”