Fitchburg City Councilman Paul Beauchemin says he never meant to use an anti-immigrant slur during a political debate Thursday night. The councilman uttered the racial slur while speaking about homelessness in Fitchburg with his opponent, Jorge Rodriguez.
"I did not mean to use that word. It’s easy for one to say that. But I did not mean to use that word,” Beauchemin said.
Beauchemin says he meant to use the term, "wet bed" which describes shelters the homeless can sleep in and drink alcohol.
"Wet bed shelter. When you’re nervous, things don’t come out right," he said. "And it wasn’t meant for any other thing."
"Maybe that wasn’t the word that he wanted to use. Maybe wrong choice of words," Rodriguez said. "But the fact of the matter still stands that he did say it. It was a derogatory remark."
Rodriguez doesn’t believe Beauchemin meant any harm.
"His apology is accepted and as a Christian person, I also apologize to my friend Paul," Rodriguez said. "But the fact still stands. He said what he said."
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story repeated the slur verbatim. We regret this error and have since removed the offensive word.