NEW ORLEANS — Gary Landrieu, who is running a long-shot race for the Louisiana governor's mansion, is facing criticism after casually using the N-word while being interviewed for a local talk radio show.
Landrieu was responding to a listener who called him a "piece of s***" while he was being interviewed for a segment on The Right Chicks, a conservative talk show on New Orleans' WGSO 990. After the hosts of the show chastised the caller for swearing on-air, the gubernatorial candidate told them he had thick skin, leading to his use of the racially-charged slur.
“Let me tell you, when I was a kid we learned about protecting ourselves and defending ourselves because we were called a lot of ugly names as children,” Landrieu said. "As an 8-year-old, they called me, ‘Oh, there’s the n*****-lovers right there.'"
Landrieu is white.
Video appearing to be from the WGSO 990 studio was posted by activist watchdog group RightWingWatch.org Friday. It was unclear from the video when the segment aired, but a post on Landrieu's Facebook page from Aug. 28 shows him thanking the show's hosts for having him on.
In an interview with WWL-TV, Landrieu defended his use of the racial slur as "an example of how (he) experienced racism as a child."
"I don't think I did anything in violation of moral ethics or anything that should have been construed in a derogatory way," Landrieu said.
Ed. Note: The following video contains explicit language. Story continues below the video.
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The gubernatorial candidate is a member of the politically prolific Landrieu family, which has been prominent in Louisiana politics since the 1970s.
"We were called very ugly words, that's not the only word they used," Landrieu said. "We suffered a lot as the family of a Landrieu."
Landrieu stepped back his comments when asked about the use of the N-word by white people.
"I hear that word all the time, every day, in everyday language, on radio, on television, music. I understand the context of the word," Landrieu said. "I'm not a proponent that we should be using that word."
Landrieu is running as a right-leaning independent in the governor's race, competing against incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican candidates Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone.
Landrieu is not one of the frontrunners in the race, according to the latest independent polls. He has unsuccessfully run for several offices over the years, including a 2012 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.
He was also arrested in 2012 for aggravated battery after allegedly grabbing his girlfriend's ponytail and driving off in his car during an argument.
All of the 2019 gubernatorial candidates are running in the Oct. 12 primary race. If no candidate receives 51% of the vote in that election, a runoff general election between the two candidates with the most votes will be held Nov. 16.