BOSTON (CBS) – Author Dennis Lehane has issued an apology after using the N-Word during his commencement speech at Emerson College on Sunday.
The author of “Mystic River” and “Gone, Baby, Gone” says he “should have known better.”
Lehane used the word during his speech while he talked about growing up during Boston’s busing crisis and the racial tensions of the time.
He says he was in a car with his parents when they came upon a riot and saw people burning effigies of Judge Arthur Garrity and Ted Kennedy.
“And they were screaming ‘[N-Word] out,’” Lehane said.
Lehane’s language has drawn criticism from some on social media.
In a statement on Monday, Lehane apologized:
“The word is the most offensive word in the English language. To use it in the context of the times in which I was describing was to show exactly how ugly those times were and that particular night was. If, in an attempt to convey that with absolute authenticity, I managed to offend, then I apologize to those who were offended. Hurting people with the use of that word, of all words, was about as far from my intention as one could get, but I take ownership of the result. I should have known better.”