N.Y. Post apologizes for chimpanzee cartoon

Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:42pm EST
 
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Post apologized on Thursday to those offended by an editorial cartoon that critics said was racist because it likened President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee.

The newspaper acknowledged that the cartoon published on Wednesday had drawn controversy because African-Americans and others saw it as a depiction of Obama.

"This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize," the paper said in an editorial on its website headlined "That Cartoon."

"It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill. Period," the paper said.

The cartoon of a policeman shooting an ape played on the real shooting of a pet chimpanzee in Connecticut this week. A police officer in the cartoon says, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

The cartoon ran a day after Obama signed into law the $787 billion economic stimulus that he had strongly promoted. Critics interpreted the cartoon's dead chimp as a reference to Obama, who became the first black president of the United States on January 20.

Demonstrators led by civil rights activist Al Sharpton chanted "End racism now!" outside the skyscraper headquarters of the newspaper's parent company in midtown Manhattan on Thursday. They called for the jailing of Rupert Murdoch, whose international media conglomerate News Corp owns the Post.

The newspaper initially defended the cartoon as a parody of Washington politics, but Sharpton said it exploited a potent image in the history of racism toward blacks.   Continued...

 
<p>Protesters march outside the News Corp. headquarters in New York February 19, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>