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Chimpanzee cartoon criticized as racist

The work in the New York Post is defended as a parody of a current news event.

February 19, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — A New York Post cartoon that some have interpreted as comparing President Obama to a violent chimpanzee gunned down by police drew outrage Wednesday from civil rights leaders and elected officials who said it echoed racist stereotypes of blacks as monkeys.

The cartoon in Wednesday's Post by Sean Delonas shows two police officers, one with a smoking gun, standing over the body of a bullet-riddled chimp. The caption reads: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

The cartoon refers to a chimpanzee named Travis who was killed Monday by police in Stamford, Conn., after it mauled a friend of its owner.

Some critics called the cartoon racist and said it trivialized a tragedy in which a woman was critically injured and a chimpanzee killed. Others said the cartoon suggests that Obama should be assassinated. Many urged a boycott of the Post and the companies that advertise in it.

"How could the Post let this cartoon pass as satire?" asked Barbara Ciara, president of the National Assn. of Black Journalists. "To compare the nation's first African American commander in chief to a dead chimpanzee is nothing short of racist drivel."

Col Allan, editor in chief of the Post, defended the work.

"The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut," Allan said in a statement. "It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to comment.

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