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.”

  1. David Keith says:

    What is the difference between using the term “N word” and using the actual word when relating what someone said or heard? If someone says “N word” we all know what they mean; in fact that is why they use the term “N word”, since apparently everyone knows the euphemism.

    I’m not advocating using the term to refer to someone or as a form of address. But why the need for code when actually referring to the word itself?

Leave a Reply to David Keith Cancel reply