WASHINGTON — Nevada Rep. Joe Heck's teenage son has repeatedly used racist, homophobic, and sexist slurs on twitter to lash out at targets ranging from President Obama to the "Mexican security monitor" in his school.
Heck apologized for his son's twitter outbursts in a statement to BuzzFeed.
"I am extremely disappointed in my son's use of the offensive and inappropriate language on twitter: that type of language has never been permitted in our home," Heck said.
"I apologize to everyone he may have offended. My son also apologizes for his insensitive behavior. My wife and I have addressed this family matter directly with him and he has learned from it."
A review of tweets by Joey Heck, 16, dating to August of last year shows numerous examples in which Heck used words like "faggot" and "nigga." For instance, on Sept. 11 Heck tweeted "Fanny pack = fag bag," and on August 23 he retweeted a tweet that read, "There are gays everywhere. Maybe that's gods way of thinning out the population because faggots can't have babies."
Heck's twitter feed also included numerous racial slurs. During a Sept. 16 Jets football game, the younger Heck tweeted "[Mark] Sanchez can hop the border faster than he can throw the ball."
During the Oct. 16 presidential debate, Heck took issue with the performance of moderator Martha Raddatz, ABC's Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent. "This is why men need to be moderators," he wrote.
He also wrote that Mitt Romney "raped" Obama and made him his "slave" during a debate.
In an exchange with a friend during the debate on October 3rd, Heck asked rhetorically, "I would like somebody to tell me one good thing Obama did in these past 4 years…. I got nothing." Later in the conversation he said "yeah like spear chucking and rock skipping. The sports they do in his home country…"
Heck's political comments are particularly jarring, since his twitter feed clearly shows his active engagement not only in national politics, but his father's reelection race last year. He repeatedly argues his father's job as a congressman gives him an inside understanding of politics: For instance, during the Oct. 16 debate he tweeted "Obama didn't make the call to kill Osama… That was the intelligence committee #iwouldknow."
Additionally, at one point he bragged that his mother got him a well paying job with "some company for like voting stuff."
Heck joins the ranks of other children of lawmakers who have used social media sites as a platform for making insensitive and offensive comments. Sen. Jeff Flake's son Tanner used highly offensive language on Youtube and Twitter. Sen Flake apologized for his son's behavior earlier this week.
John Stanton is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New Orleans. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
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