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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Politics

Serafin Gomez

Miami, FL

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Donny Deutsch Apologizes to Marco Rubio for “Inappropriate” Remarks

February 24, 2010 - 6:58 PM | by: Serafin Gomez

MIAMI, Fla — Advertising guru, and CNBC contributor Donny Deutsch has issued an apology for his remarks about Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio after two Latino organizations criticized the CNBC contributor for what one them called a “racial smear” against Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio.

“In discussing Mr. Rubio, I used a word that was intended to describe his inexperience on the national stage. I now realize the word has connotations as an ethnic slur, and is therefore inappropriate.,” Deutsch said in a statement released this afternoon.” I apologize to Mr. Rubio and to anyone else I have offended.”

Earlier Wednesday, the conservative-leaning Hispanic Leadership Fund, a non-profit organization, called Donny Deutsch’s use of the term “coconut” to describe Rubio “disgusting racism” and had asked for an immediate apology from Deutsch.

“We call on every Hispanic organization in the country to forcibly denounce Donny Deutsch’s despicable racial smear. This kind of vile attack has no place in 21st century America. If Deutsch has any sense of decency he will apologize profusely to all American Hispanics,” Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario H. Lopez said in a statement.

Deutsch entered into the controversy earlier this week when he described Rubio, a Cuban-American, as a “coconut,” a term that is considered a racially-derogatory term by some Latino activist groups.

The moniker implies that a Hispanic is a cultural sell-out.

“It means that a (Latino) is brown on the outside, and white on the inside”,Adriana Maestas said about the C-word. Maestas, a blogger, who writes about Latino politics and culture says that Deutsch had a “narrow-lense” for using that term.” It is a broad-brush to be called a ‘coconut’…it is inflammatory and racially-charged.”

Deutsch made the remarks during a TV segment on HLN’s Joy Behar Show in which he was discussing the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement.

After calling Rubio a “coconut,” Behar said she didn’t know who Rubio was. Deutsch replied: “Marco Rubio. He’s running against Charlie Crist, who I think has done a great job. And (Rubio) is the new great, you know, hope down there.”

Deutsch replied on his Twitter account Tuesday night that he was unaware it was a racially-insensitive term.

“I said ‘coconut’ meaning simple, goofy, bananas,” Deustch tweeted. “Wasn’t even aware it could be a racially charged word.”

The nation’s largest organization of elected Latino leaders also weighed in on Deutsch’s remarks.

“We should never resort to name calling. We can have genuine disagreements in an atmosphere of mutual respect without that kind of behavior,” said Arturo Vargas executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a non-partisan group which represents more than 6,000 Latino elected officials.
“Name calling must never happen,” Vargas said.

Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos told Fox News that Rubio “is running a serious campaign about issues and ideas, not shameless attacks and name-calling.

We hope anyone involved in this race or following it with interest follows Marco’s example by engaging in a respectful, issues-based debate about Florida’s and our nation’s future,” Burgos said.

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