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

Sharpton blasts Post cartoon linking stimulus bill to apes

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/18/art.sharptonpt0218.gi.jpg caption="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. Tee

    Everyone had funny cartoons and some tasteless of Bush so now it's Obama's turn.....have at it boys

    February 18, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. The Post is garbage

    I am not one to play the race card, but come on.
    Blame CNN.
    This story should not be about Al Sharpton. It should be about the racist New York Post and it's owner Rupert Murdoch. The same owner of Fox News mind you. So I guess we should expect this.
    I cannot believe people look at this and act like it is no big deal. And the fact that they act like this is not offensive makes it even worse!

    February 18, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Don

    this is not a sharpton thing it's a human thing. This seems as though it will never stop. No one said that it represented the President getting shot.... it suggests that a chimp wrote the plan, oh by the way it was approved by a Black man. Freaking cartoonist can't draw something to help society (All of society) with this situation that we are in.

    Why don't you draw the clowns that got us into this mess in the first place.... I wonder what zoo animals they will be?

    Hint: Start with the editor

    February 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. meh

    Sharpton is wacky, but I must agree w. him on this. How anyone could say that this wasn't a blantantly racist cartoon is beyond me. Historically, African Americans have been compared to apes. BAD choice to print this, Post!

    February 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Kedren Reade Sitton

    Some of the facts:

    – Sean Delonas has WAAAAY more publicity today than he had yesterday
    – Rev. Sharpton is in the news again
    – Travis, the chimp, was gunned down and a media frenzy ensued day before this cartoon was published
    – "Monkey" is one word/phrase on the relatively short list of offensive names given blacks by whites
    – James Byrd was lynched in this decade
    – Lynching nooses, a symbol on the even shorter list of offensive racist symbols, have popped up in the offices of black university professors and on the campus of at least one grade school in the past half decade
    – Barak Obama, the author of the stimulus initiative, is partly black

    Racist or not (I have NO DOUBT this cartoon ABSOLUTELY WAS racist), this country of ours:

    1. Has a HECKUVA long way to go to mend racial fences, and
    2. SHALL, as long as I live, and my vote is with the winning side, steer WELL CLEAR of oppressing ANYONE – EVER – AGAIN – EVER!! That includes gay, intersexed, athiestic, ETC, ETC, ETC!! 300+ years of THIS CRAP (see bullets above) is BEYOND ENOUGH to convince me of this!!

    February 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Mark

    The cartoon was right! Oama is out of control just likethat crazy monkey! Plus he's still wanting to spend!

    February 18, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. billy-bayou

    This one will most likely bring out not only Sharpton but Jackson, Rev. Wright.of..(not God bless) Shirley Chisholm, Bill clinton, Donna Brazile, Barak Obama, O.J. Simpson and God only, knows who else mighe want to join in.

    February 18, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Razorback

    Where was all the outrage when the fine bloggers on CNN.com demanded that Bush and Cheney be killed?

    February 18, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Tom

    I'm sick of this. The only way that is racist is if Darwin's "Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life" is recognized as a racist publication.

    Instead, the idea of Darwinism is popularly considered to be fact, and no negative racial connotation is attached to it.

    You cannot have it both ways: Either recognize that Darwin's vision was racist, and that monkeys are related to people, or there is a creator who made people (of every color) unique from animals and this is NOT a racist cartoon.

    If we're not related to monkeys, and people with more visible melanin in their skin simply look different than people with less melanin, then this cartoon merely suggests that you'd have to be less smart than a person to write a bill this bad.

    Otherwise, we're related to monkeys, and black people are less evolutionarily developed than whites and THIS IS RACIST!

    Give me a break. It's not racist, just not very funny, and people who have little sense of humor, or who are desperate to grandstand about discrimination will use ANYTHING to make news. Racism exists. It's wrong, and it's not funny. To claim that every little thing is racism is like the boy who cried wolf. Sharpton needs to cut it out.

    February 18, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. Baaaa... Baaaa... Baaaa ......

    Isn't it TOO funny how the lib's can dish it, but can't take it. You losers are such hypocrits.

    February 18, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. karl

    Freedom of speech and expression is afforded to everyone, this is why the comments on here are both for and against this cartoon. When I was a child, I act and thought like a child, now that I'm an adult, all childish things are behind me. We expect and understand children to have under developed brains, and the ability to thInk fully the consequences of their words are not present, and we expect and understand adults to have developed brains and the ability to think, so use your brain to think. If I said Adolph Hitler was the best thing to happen to Jewish people, (freedom of speech), knowing the atrocities that Hitler and his men afflicted upon the Jewish people, I as an adult who knows about this history, will not only be insensitive, but considered an out right a__hole, let alone a racist. THINK, BEFORE YOU SPEAK!

    February 18, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Angela

    This is incredibly racist and The Post should boycotted for even running this blatant cartoon.

    This is why McCain lost the Presidental Election. The Republicans and all the extreme Right need to rethink their idea of America! All you have to do is take a look at a rerun of some of McCain's campaign stops and see all the backwoods racists in the background!

    Also this Stimulous Bill was suggested and backed by some of the most intellectual and smartest in the entire world! Some of which were the ADVISORS to the last President and still the Republicans want to say NO. Our country is about to go bankrupt and Republicans don't want to do anything about it!!!!

    CRAZY just like that cartoon!

    February 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Rick

    I know this is shocking to you democrats but not everything is about race.

    February 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. carol

    Go back under your rock Al. You have an amazing capacity of trying to stir the pot. It is interesting as to how it always draws attention to you.

    February 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Dee

    This uproar (and this comment board) prove that some people will read racial overtones into ANYTHING.

    February 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. AndyL

    Al Sharpton should be lucky to be compared to a chimp. Chimps are a lot smarter than him, more interesting and a lot cuter.

    February 18, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Me

    "If it offends people, it probably is WRONG idiots!"

    Dumbest arguement ever. The whole Democratic Party offends my intelligence, does this mean they are wrong?

    February 18, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. arithmetic is liberal

    Proving once again that Al Sharpton has become the ambulence chaser of race relations.

    I completely understand how someone who has lived through what he's lived through could find a racist under every rock, but when is he going to start tackling issues that TRULY affect Black America, not just the high-profile media-based "celebrity" cases?

    February 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. geecee

    The cartoon is not even remotely funny. Even a chimp getting shot doesn't amuse me. But the line about the stimulus bill does deliberately connect it to our President. The so-called cartoonist is a rascist jerk and The New York Post is one of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers so it has always been nothing but a tabloid. No news of any quality every emanates from its pages. Disgusting rag is what it is. And the cartoonist and his cartoon are disgusting too.

    February 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. E

    People who think this cartoon is racist are completely overreacting. BUT, they are entitled to their opinion.

    The recent story about the chimpanzee is widely popular. What if the story would have been about a million rats mauling a woman? The cartoon would have referenced the rats instead & none of this would have been an issue. I bet if you'd show the cartoon to a 10 year old, they wouldn't think it was racist...unless they've been listening to Al Sharpton.

    As long as people are constantly defensive and in a frame of mind where EVERYTIHNG said or referenced is racist, then this country will never move on.

    February 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Anthony

    It is nice to have Barack Obama as the president, Cause it lets me know that the ignorant racists are now the minority. If people want to be racist I don't think they should live in a country with many races. This is AMERICA. We are many faces of the world in one country.

    February 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. DIZIZI31

    Come on Al, where is your sense of humor?

    February 18, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Sue

    Either the cartoonist is an idiot, or thinks the rest of us are...his message is crude and clear.

    February 18, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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