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Congressman Heck apologizes for son's offensive tweets

Congressman Heck apologizes for son's offensive tweets

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Jun 14, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Congressman Joe Heck is apologizing for offensive messages posted by his teenage son on Twitter.

The website BuzzFeed first broke the story reporting tweets from Joey Heck, 16, include slurs towards African-American and gay people, as well as sexist remarks towards women.

The article said the site looked at tweets dating back to last August. One tweet reads, "I look like a dirty Mexican." Some tweets include racist remarks towards President Obama. Action News showed some of the messages posted online to people in Heck's district.

"Once you put something on the internet, it's there forever," said Regal Minyard. "You can't retract it."

That's a lesson that is often learned the hard way, said Las Vegas-based social media teacher Sarah Evans.

"Be careful what you post. Obviously, they don't really understand what that means for their future. They're creating a blueprint for themselves on social networks, especially when their content is public," said Evans.

She hopes the incident is a learning experience for parents and teenagers across the valley.

"Now it's time for parents to sit down and not only have conversations and show examples, but get access to their children's account by monitoring and perhaps getting passwords and being open about it," said Evans.

Heck's office did not say when the congressman learned of the tweets. The last tweet from Joey's account was posted May 6.

A Heck spokesman released a statement from the congressman that said, "I am extremely disappointed in my son's use of the offensive and inappropriate language on twitter: that type of language has never been permitted in our home. I apologize to everyone he may have offended. 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."