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.
I'm a leftie – but I disagree with Sharpton totally. I didn't see any racism here. The chimp story was the most "searched" internet story yesterday.
I disagree with the premise of the cartoon. I support the stimulus plan, and I trust Obama & his economic advisors to come up with a good plan. I'm glad Democrats finally can drive this bus, I'm sick of Republican ideas.
The New York Post is calling President Obama a monkey. Figurately, they should be shot.
The Cartoonist as well as the Post who defends this cartoon meant it as a racial slur against President Obama and all the African American men and women who have been shot dead by police officers. Their minimizing Rev. Sharpton's accusations for their brand of racial hatred as " absolutely frigging ridiculous" is futher proves thier own ignorance. I simply have one question: Why is the Cartoonist and all at the Post who sancion this brand of "murderous" humor not brought up on hate crimes?
I've never been a huge fan of Al Sharpton, but he's right on this one. The cartoon is infused with racial inferences and messages. Delonas and Col Allen should be very ashamed of themselves. What a sorry excuse for journalism.
Why would the Post even want to put something like that in the paper? THEY wanted to start some s*&#! Not everyone interprets cartoons the exact same way...to me it was offensive....shame on U Post!
Grow up Al... It's called humor!
I believe the appropriate reference is to the lack of inteligence by all those who had a hand in constructing it.
Get'm AL! They know what they did.
A clever way of putting it! That is what I got out of it. I know what it was saying. I never agree with Al Sharpton, bu this time-–I DO!
Just so the overly touchy Al Sharpton knows, legislation is rarely written by lawmakers. It is usually written by someone else with a much less public face, who may have actually been a chimp. So he needs to calm down.
The cartoonist for The New York Post is a moron and he should be on his knees thanking God that someone has signed a stimulus bill. What if he was out of a job. Wouldn't he want someone to help him out? Don't count your eggs to quick, Mr. Cartoonist. The same thing can happen to you. Al Sharpton is simply telling it like it is. Racists are the only ones talking against this bill. Stop all the excuses. We are not all dumb and we see through this rhetoric that the Repubs and all other opposers are making. You didn't say anything for eight years and now you are squalling. Grow up!! You agreed to send billions to Iraq, but not America. Whose unpatriotic now?
Stupid! I guess Sharpton is the racist. He's the one comparing apes to blacks.
I don't always agree with Rev. Al but this time I am in his corner. Depicting a shot ape as the bearer of a stimulus package is tasteless and the cartoonist knew exactly what he was doing. I never bought The NY Post and probably never will.
The image of an ape has a long history of use as a derogatory symbol of people considered as inferior. In the 1840s, it was the Irish peasant who was depicted as a primate, primarily in the London newspapers. Although I seldom agree with the Rev. Sharpton, I am with him on this one.
Go home, grow old, and die a very unhappy man Al. This is ridiculus...
I am not usually in agreement with Sharpton as I think he is hyper-sensitive and in the past he has made more drama than was necessary.
However, this time he may right. With repubs refusing to touch the stimulus bill and saying it belongs to President Obama and the cartoon appears the day after the official signing of the bill and the fact that the author of the current stimulus bill is portrayed as a monkey/chimp.
This does not look good, on several levels, racist at least and perhaps guilty of advocating violence against an elected official at most.
I have to come down on the side with Sharpton about the racist aspect, at least this one time.
America has many BACK-DOOR rascists. It many be humerous, but the reality is real. The cartoonist apparently has problems with race still stuck in his closet. It will keep coming out now that he has been exposed in the day light !!!!
My dead grandmother would was his mouth with lye soap and he would wake up fast. New York, Alabama, Wash. DC., this disease still exists and only PRAYER is the clean choice.
IF THIS WAS ABOUT THE STIMULOUS PLAN FULL OF PORK, THEN
WHY DIDNT'T IT SHOW THE OFFICERS SHOOTING A PIG?
MCCAIN/PALIN SUPPORTER WAS SHOWN BRINGING A STUFFED MONKEY ANIMAL TO A RALLY AND TRIED TO HIDE IT WHEN A REPORTER SPOTTED HIM, BUT SINCE THE SUPPORTER WASN'T WEARING A WHITE HOOD, IT WAS ALL IN FUN.
STEREOTYPING IS THE NEW RACISM. I BET THEY WON'T SPOOF A WHITE MAN WITH A SWASTIKA, IN FRONT OF AN OVEN AND CALL IT HUMOUR.
I agree with Rev.Sharpton! Racists codewords have no place in CNN media or any media for that matter!!!! CNN should demand Delonas apologize for his ignorance!!
I guess I don't see how this cartoon can NOT be interpreted as linking the chimpanzee to Obama. Otherwise, it just doesn't make any sense....there is no other "hook" linking the crazy-CT-chimpanzee to the stimulus bill. Yeah, I get that the message might not be overtly intended to be "racist," but on the other hand, anyone who does not know that historically the caricature of "black man as a monkey" is a common racist theme is a complete idiot who lacks the perspective and education to be a political satirist for a major newspaper.
The Post certainly has the right of free speech, but we also have the right to comment on what they're saying, and in this case, I am forced to conclude that the cartoon is either a) overtly racist or b) incredibly stupid–or c) both.
To call Sharpton an idiot is to insult idiots everywhere.
If Sharton were white he wouldn't get the time of day from CNN.
Sharpton, I am a black educated woman asking you to please GO AWAY!!! Why does everything have to be about race? It's not.
Thank you, Al....I was hoping you would step up to the plate on this one.
That cartoon is very dangerous – it shows the ape being shot.
What has happened to Americans and their sense of dignity?
IMO the past 8 years of hate and gloom and doom at the hands of the republicans have ruined our country and the sense of respect that people once had. People are flocking to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for their daily dose of hate, and it's spilling into newspapers and columns all over the country.
The media idiots are spewing hate and no one is calling them on it.
Where is CNN and why aren't they outraged over this political cartoon and the media that represents it???
Shut Up AL.
James, Phoenix AZ February 18th, 2009 2:18 pm ET
Hey, Al, we're still waiting for your apology to the Duke University lacrosse team. How about it?
Your apology is in the same place where millions of black women have been raped by their slavemasters or just white men in general, creating an entire race within a race of mulattoes. I live in South Louisiana, so I know this to be true. Just because one black woman falsely accused some white boys of rape doesn't mean it hasn't happened a gazillion times, and I have yet to hear an apology.