ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/AP) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used the n-word during a WAMC radio interview on Tuesday while discussing discrimination against Italian-Americans.

The governor was quoting a recent New York Times op-ed when he used the derogatory terms.

“They used an expression that southern Italians were called quote-unquote, and pardon my language, but I’m just quoting the New York Times, n****r w**s,” Governor Cuomo told WAMC host Alan Chartock in reference to the op-ed.

Gov. Cuomo also said that Italian-Americans are not immune from attack and that stereotyping is still alive and well.

Listen to the clip here where the governor makes the comments around 18:48.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he didn’t take offense at Cuomo’s comments. Heastie, the first African-American speaker, said Cuomo was quoting a New York Times editorial about racist language once used to describe Italian immigrants.

But Bertha Lewis, founder and president of the Black Institute, a public policy think tank, said Cuomo appears to think he has so much privilege he can say anything. She said there’s no comparison between oppression against Italian immigrants and black people.

Statement from the Elmira/Corning NAACP:

“The Governor was quoting from an article from the New York Times where the term had been used in reference to Italian Americans. He asked to be excused for even verbalizing the quote. I listen to his entire interview and he delivered a powerful message regarding the “Cancer Within,” known as racism, as he said out loud what is happening in America. He spoke in term of problematic issues, such as anti-Semitism, disrespect, disunity, hate and more. On a positive note, he advocated for unity and justice for all.”