February 18th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Sharpton blasts Post cartoon linking stimulus bill to apes

Al Sharpton took issue Wednesday with a cartoon published in the New York Post.
Al Sharpton took issue Wednesday with a cartoon published in the New York Post.

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.


Filed under: Al Sharpton • economic stimulus • President Obama
soundoff (273 Responses)
  1. Tafari

    If you see no issue with this cartoon in terms of its racist base, then you have issue. Al Shrapton & his relevance is beside the point.

    f you are blind to racism, you must & have to be a racist & cannot see the forest for the tree. Wake up!

    February 18, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. From another ape in public service

    Post et al:

    Your POTUS is a black man and there's nothing you can do about it.

    February 18, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Terry in NY

    Who is this idiot Sharpton anyway. Just where is this Church he supposedly preaches at. He's a blood sucking leach that only look for issues that benefit him and to keep his donations coming in.

    February 18, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Pamela Rainsong

    Aerial Gunning of Wolves for Revenue (not control)...

    Suing to de-list the Polar Bear as threatened so she can drill baby drill...

    Abuse of power ...

    Doesn't pay her taxes....

    What next?

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 18, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Pamela Rainsong

    OMG... wrong blog! I meant to post a comment about Palin.

    February 18, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. joann

    The NYPD are notorious for shooting unarmed men (black&latino). Obama should hesitate before he visits the Big Appel. I agree with Sharpton!

    February 18, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Reggie

    Sharpton, YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY!!!! We do not want someone that gets it wrong 80% of the time when it comes to "picking your battles" representing us!

    February 18, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Jeremy

    Ok, I'm sure the Post's intentions were not racist ... but seriously, how dumb are you to run this? The Post deserves the criticism just for being stupid enough to run a cartoon like this that would no doubt get a big backlash.

    February 18, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Tracy, Los Angeles

    It is without question a racist cartoon, whether consciously or subconsciously. The editor from the Post should have known better, should have recognized. But perhaps that editor saw nothing wrong with "Barack The Magic Negro" either.

    February 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. NY republican

    Hooray Mathew in Houston – There are believers of Dr. King's colorblind society out there!!! Keep it up Matt (up north were kinda pink this time of year):)

    February 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The cartoon is racist, offensive, and condones violence against the President. I believe that is a crime.

    February 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Daniel, Loganville. Ga.

    The cartoon is blatant disrespect and racist, plan and simple.

    February 18, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Chad Collins

    Where was Sharpton and all the rest when Bush was being made fun of? At some point we need to stop apologizing for every thing that Sharpton and Jackson make a big deal about. They make race an issue about everything. When we stop feeding in we can move ahead. They are experts on setting us back everytime we (the US people) move forward. No Apologies!!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. cmoore

    I agree its a disgrace, I would not put the chimpanzee down like that. He (the chimpanzee ) would have had a much smarter plan than we got from Obama and the Democrats.

    February 18, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Christopher

    Instead of being racist think of this:

    maybe the author doesn't like the stimulus (spending on ridiculous non-stimulating projects) bill and is referring to congress as a bunch of monkeys. lol Considering the bill is kinda ridiculous, this is quite funny.

    Or be racist and perceive that he is calling Obama a monkey.

    February 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. CAL

    Debby

    Wow I was hoping you had moved to that other world you tend to live in. I saw a lot of your evil blogs during the campaing and you can't call anybody a wacko.

    This is racist end of story.

    February 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. African Black

    There is no question about the meaning of the cartoon, unless you want to argue that the editor of the NY post lacks in intelligence, which is not likely to be the case – he wouldn't hold on to his job. It is racist and as disturbing as Sarah Palin lettting the crowd yell out "Kill him" toward Barack Obama during the presidential campaign. Everyone knows black people have been referred to as monkeys, chimpanzees and many other derogative calling. I hope you will stop it.

    February 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. NY republican

    Lee – I am offended by you comment, that makes your comment wrong by your own logic. This is why we DO NOT have a right NOT to be offended. But we do have a right to freedom of the press and speech. Even though I think the cartoon could be seen as wrong (I don't know, like most of us in blog land, I have not seen the cartoon).

    February 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Turning the page

    I know Al Sharpton always cries foul regarding race issues and so he makes a lot of people nervous so they dislike him. But come on now! How can any reasonable person not think that this cartoon is ridiculous to say the least! What's the correlation between a chimpanzee shot while mauling a woman and the Economic stimulus bill?! If the Republicans had managed to kill the bill, then may be there would some connection, especially for people who think the stimulus bill is a bad idea. At best, this cartoonist has to be the laziest cartoonist ever.

    February 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. wright

    It is certainly offensive,and the paper and the cartoonist need to take into consideration of how African Americans, or any other group,
    will interpret what they themeselves are trying to get across to the
    public.

    February 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Dr. BW

    How anyone can offend the racist tone of that cartoon is beyond words. I guess that is what AG Eric Holder meant when he said we were a nation of cowards when it comes to race. To those who are hear to defend tha cartoonist I would hope you would atleast stop for a moment and try to understand the anger from a black man's point of view. I am no fan of Rev. Sharpton but I do think he is right on this issue. Of course some of you may beg to differ. It just goes to show that the way something is viewed depends on the viewer.

    February 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Dr. BW

    How anyone can defend the racist tone of that cartoon is beyond words. I guess that is what AG Eric Holder meant when he said we were a nation of cowards when it comes to race. To those who are hear to defend tha cartoonist I would hope you would atleast stop for a moment and try to understand the anger from a black man's point of view. I am no fan of Rev. Sharpton but I do think he is right on this issue. Of course some of you may beg to differ. It just goes to show that the way something is viewed depends on the viewer.

    February 18, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Whether the cartoonist "meant:" it to be shocking or not, it is. He went over the line.

    But, the New York Post is part of the Rupert Murdoch empire so there is no reason to be surprised.

    February 18, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    I suppose you could just turn it around and say the cartoon mocks the stereotypical racism of the police in that they shot a chimpanzee tha attacked someone and made the irrational leap to equating it with Obama. Either way, it's completely tactless and tasteless and they should apologize.

    February 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Jeff

    If Conyers and Leahy are so dead set against torture, they should subpoena Sharpton next, because that is some seriously tortured logic.

    February 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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