NEW YORK (CNN) - A New York Post cartoon Wednesday drew fire from civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who says the image invokes a history of racism to suggest an ape wrote President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package.
The cartoonist, Sean Delonas, called Sharpton's umbrage "ridiculous," and the newspaper defended its decision to run it.
The comic showed two police officers standing over the body of a chimpanzee they just shot - a reference to the recent mauling of a Connecticut woman by a pet chimp, which was killed by police after the attack. In the cartoon, one of the officers tells the other, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
"The cartoon in today's New York Post is troubling at best, given the racist attacks throughout history that have made African-Americans synonymous with monkeys," Sharpton said in a statement condemning the cartoon.
The stimulus bill was the top priority for Obama, the first African-American U.S. leader, who signed it Tuesday. Sharpton questioned whether Delonas - who has brutally lampooned him in the past - "is making a less-than-casual inference to this form of racism."
"The Post should at least clarify what point they were trying to make in this cartoon, and reprimand their cartoonist for making inferences that are offensive and divisive at a time the nation struggles to come together to stabilize the economy if, in fact, this was yet another racially charged cartoon," he said.
But in a brief phone interview with CNN, Delonas called the controversy "absolutely friggin' ridiculous."
"Do you really think I'm saying Obama should be shot? I didn't see that in the cartoon," Delonas told CNN.
"It's about the economic stimulus bill," he added. "If you're going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, which it's not."
And Col Allan, the Post's editor-in-chief, said the cartoon "is a clear parody of a current news event."
"It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist," Allan said in a written statement.
Updated 2:30 p.m.
While I don't agree with Al on everything, I have to agree with him on this one. I saw the ad. No normal person could think that the picture isn't racist.
"“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
That is dispicable NY Post. I believe in sattire, but it sounds lik eyou guys crossed the line. Al Sharpton is the wrong guy you want on your butt.
Again! When you are part of the dominant group, may it be male, female, white, black, gay or not. You think everything is funny from your point of veiw until someone punch you in your face, and state that you are not! This wasn't funny or clever, it 400 years of history yelling back!
Monkey jokes are directed at black poeple. I dare anyone to draw a cartoon about jewish people from NYC. You world would get shut down!!!!
If anyone should be upset about this cartoon, it is the woman who had her face mauled off by the chimp in Connecticut.
I agree. Entirely too much is made of "racial remarks". If President Bush was still in office, nobody would say anything about any cartoon material. Some people are just looking to stir things up.
Sharpton has nothing to talk about... this is sad. I actually by his standards he might be racist.
Well why use a monkey? That lady in Conn. don't want to be reminded about the either. I think it is hidden racism.
Yeah... yeah... I tell you what put the chimp in a gas chamber and state the same thign and every Jewish, Evangelical and news media outlet will be outraged.
Another of Sharptons pathetic attempts to be seen as relevent to anything. Some people will just never be happy it seems and need to create controversy out of nothing.
Please everybody just ignore Sharpton till he pays off what he owes from being sued for defamation of character. He is just a angry racist who is no longer relevant in the era of Obama.
My God! The comment was clearly racist. To compare the President to a chimp and to suggest that he should be shot is horrible.
That ridiculous cartoon was violent at best and racist at worst. Most of us who saw the cartoon and the heading thought about President Obama because we have so many images of him making stops in the country to discuss the bill. If the "author" of the cartoon would have thought for two seconds he would have realized that this might be somewhat offensive. He has his right to his opinion however I do as well and it did not make me smile or laugh. Ignorance is sometimes hard to define yet I know it when I see it. This was complete ignorance on the part of the New York Post.
Okay the cartoonist should be able to express himself about the stimilus package without having a chimp in the picture. We all know in the past that racist people referred to blacks as monkeys or chimps.
And I am tired of whites saying that everytime they write about something or display something, it dont mean they are racist. If you are not racist then you would be more sensitive to others!!
led by Rush Limbaugh the GOP and the Right Wing are right now bringing disgrace to the United States of America after Jim Crow.
How can the People of the United States of America even let such thing happen in the Land of Free.
I hope there legal actions against New York Post
so most of the bail out money goes to al sharptons acorn home owners ,,, figures no wonder Al is mad ....
Equating a monkey with the likes of Al Sharpton is an insult to all the intelligent monkeys in the world.
If we wanted to mock Mr Sharpton, we would use donkey doo doo - monkeys are way too smart
Sean Delonas knows exactly what he was doing and there is no excuse. Sean is just another poor example of pure hate and ignorance and doesn't deserve a job. Put him in the unemployment line with millions of others so he can feel their pain.
Don't insult my intelligence!!! That cartoonist knows good and d@mn well what he was saying in that cartoon!
White people are quick to tell black people not to play the race card when whites always play the card first.
Whites say, pull yourself up by your boot straps, work hard and make it on your own and stop saying racisim is stopping you.
Except when black people do so, and beat out white people fairly, then white folks want to degrade or threaten to kill them.
Black people will get over race when white people get over it first!!!!
Sharpton is right... the cartoon was a joke and such a disgrace. Make fun of his ears or something but not his race.
Saw the cartoon and Rev Sharpton's outrage is justified...alon with the rest of the black community...... of all the stoires this week they chose the one about the monkey, they knew better than that.
I am outraged and offended by the cartoon. I absolutely disagree with the Post's editor-in-chief's statement about Sharpton being an publicity opportunist regarding this matter. I believe there are a lot of people in the black community who are offended by this cartoon. Another example of how racism still exists in America
What a shame. It takes a special person to spit in the face of decency to create something so ugly. Truly a damaged soul.
Leave it up to Al Sharpton to find something racist in every situation. That is his excuse to stay in the public eye.
I didn't take the cartoon to mean anything other than the fact that the economy is dead and the stimulus isn't going to revive it.
I also agree that since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (both white) were the originators of the stimulus bill, the cartoon could have been referring to Congress as a whole.
Lighten up AL! Not every blessed thing is about race!!!!
Humor or not, to draw a cartoon of anyone, particularly referring to the POTUS or members of Congress, being shoot by the police, should be considered a terrorist threat to ones life. Poor taste and worse humor to make fun and laugh at a woman who was mulled and trying it to a bill signed by the POTUS to give relief to mulled American People. For those who have jobs, a home, and food on the table, hope and pray you don't lose your independence.
SHUT UP AL SHARPTON! You are irrelevant. You perpetuate racism! And, Obama didn't write the stimulus bill, Pelosi and gang did. It's a commentary on the stupidity of it, while using a current event to facilitate the message. Get over yourself. You are an opportunist and a fool. I don't know why you even get face time. Are you really supposed to be the self-styled voice of the African American community? WHAT AN IDIOT.