Arizona senator Jeff Flake
Arizona Senator Apologizes for Son's Homophobic Tweets

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com June 13 2013 11:06 AM ET

Arizona’s junior U.S. senator, Jeff Flake, is apologizing for homophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic language his teenage son Tanner used on social media.

BuzzFeed yesterday broke the story about Tanner Flake’s bigoted language, reporting that the youth “used Twitter to threaten the ‘faggot’ who stole his bike that he ‘will find you, and … will beat the crap out of you,’ joked about an acquaintance stealing one-liners because he’s Jewish, and went by the name ‘n1ggerkiller’ in an online game.”

These and other offensive tweets were culled from January and February; Tanner’s Twitter account has since been locked, BuzzFeed reports. The site also notes that Tanner posted screen shots from the online game Fun Run with his racially charged character name, and that his comments on YouTube are full of homophobic and racial slurs, including the f and n words as well as calling Mexicans “scum,” plus boasts about his father being in Congress.

“I’m very disappointed in my teenage son’s words, and I sincerely apologize for the insensitivity,” Jeff Flake said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “This language is unacceptable, anywhere. Needless to say, I’ve already spoken with him about this, he has apologized, and I apologize as well.”

Flake, a conservative Republican, is in his first term in the Senate, having been elected in November to succeed Jon Kyl, who retired. Before that he had been in the House of Representatives since 2001, racking up a less than gay-friendly record. For his three most recent terms in the House, the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard, which rates members on their votes on LGBT issues, gave him scores of 0, 20, and 10.