A new angle in the privacy debate hit Washington this week when the teenage sons of two top politicians faced criticism for posting offensive comments on their Twitter accounts.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., were both forced to issue statements of apology when Buzzfeed unearthed a series of homophobic, racist and socially insensitive tweets posted by each of the two teenagers.
On Wednesday, 15-year-old Tanner Flake’s once-publicly accessible account came under scrutiny because of a series of slurs. According to Buzzfeed, Flake threatened to beat the “fa***t” who stole his bike, went by the name “n*****killer” in an online game and joked about an acquaintance’s Jewish background. Flake’s Twitter account was turned private hours after the report was published.
“I’m very disappointed in my teenage son’s words, and I sincerely apologize for the insensitivity,” Sen. Flake told ABC News in a statement. “This language is unacceptable, anywhere. Needless to say, I’ve already spoken with him about this, he has apologized, and I apologize as well.”
Read more at ABC News Politics.
The apology came only weeks after the senator spent his Memorial Day weekend with Tanner and his younger son, Dallin, on a survivalist vacation on an undocumented island.
Similarly, on Thursday, another Buzzfeed report focused on Rep. Heck’s teenage son, Joey, who used similar offensive terms for gays and blacks, and denigrated other groups such as women and immigrants.
The teenager also racially ridiculed President Obama, such as when he asked after the Oct. 3, 2012 presidential debate how the president felt “when [Mitt] Romney raped [him].” He also tweeted that Obama was good at “spear chucking.”
“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,” Rep. Heck said in a statement to ABC News.
“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.”