WASHINGTON — It’s likely to be an awkward Father’s Day in the Joe Heck household after it was reported Thursday the Nevada congressman’s son has made racist, sexist and homophobic remarks on Twitter.
The Republican lawmaker issued an apology as BuzzFeed.com posted selections from the Twitter feed of 16-year-old Joey Heck that included inflammatory remarks about President Barack Obama and comments about gays and people from Mexico.
“I am extremely disappointed in my son’s use of the offensive and inappropriate language on Twitter,” Heck said in a statement issued by his office. “That type of language has never been permitted in our home.
“I apologize to everyone he may have offended,” Heck said. “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.”
Democrats in Nevada and Washington circulated the BuzzFeed story via email but did not comment on it.
Joey Heck has made 3,196 tweets but none since May 6. BuzzFeed said it reviewed his Twitter feed dating to August of last year and reported instances in which he described homosexuals and black people in combustible terms.
He also aimed at Mexican-Americans. Watching a New York Jets game in October, he tweeted that quarterback Mark Sanchez “can hop the border faster than he can throw the ball.”
Joey Heck, who has 276 followers, also got noticed during his live tweets of the presidential debates last fall.
During the first presidential debate Oct. 3, Heck tweeted that Mitt Romney “raped Obama” and made him “his slave.”
At one point during the Oct. 16 debate, he tweeted: “Shut up Obama, you suck sit down.” And at another point he called Obama “you arrogant bitch.”
The son also commented on matters before Congress, where his father serves on military and intelligence panels.
On Oct. 16, he tweeted: “Obama didn’t make the call to kill Osama. ... That was the intelligence committee #iwouldknow”
Heck spokesman Greg Lemon said the congressman “does not divulge deliberations of the intel committee outside of that committee.”
BuzzFeed is a New York-based company that aims to produce content that can go viral on the Internet, with reporters who cover Washington and politics. Lately it has been examining the social media accounts of congressional family members.
Earlier this week it reported the teenage son of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., similarly took to Twitter and YouTube with racist and anti-Semitic observations. Flake apologized for the postings.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.