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. Ed

    As usual Sharpton has no idea what he is talking about or doesn't care as long as he gets some press coverage.

    1st of all President Obama did not write the stimulus bill – Congress did. So it would be Congess that is the ape. Of course Congress is comprised of all races so it would be silly to claim it is an insult only to Black members of Congress. If a name was put on the ape then it would indeed be an insult, but by Sharpton's standards it would only be an insult if it was the name of a Black person.

    Frankly I am tried of the same old race games from Sharpton. Americans voted for a Black president – time for Sharpton to stop playing the race game and move on to something else.

    February 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Shawn

    To all of those people who think it's wrong to use animals to represent Obama, how many of you found it funny when cartoonist made George W. a chimpanzee? (granted, I disliked Bush grealt and found the comparison to be both accurate and hilarious) It's my belief that many people oftentimes will see racism where they want to see racism. Al Sharpton doesn't deserve the respect that many people give him. All his constant cries of racism do is perpetuate the notion that black people should feel like the system is against them. I understand that there are genuine cases of racism in this country, and that is wrong on every level. However, taking every little event that involves a black person in any way and using it to further your own agenda (and trust me, his agenda has little to do with the betterment of black people, other than himself of course) is doing more harm than good. Instead of increasing the racial divide by making everything revolve around it, mayne he should try to inspire and lead his followers in a productive way. Martin Luther King Jr. did it, why can't Al Sharpton?

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

    Blacks know racism when they see it because we've lived it, experienced it, along with many of our black friends and family members. Its easy for non-blacks to be dismissive or critical of Sharpton because many of them deal with blacks at arms length and are clueless to our plight and countless bouts with racist behavior.

    February 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Barbara

    The cartoon and the Post are a disgrace and an affront to all Americans. This is a racist cartoon and could be seen as an inducement to murder the President also. Rev. Sharpton has cried wolf too many times to be trusted at first yell but to ignore him without checking his claim is not prudent either. "Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you".

    February 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. welches, oregon

    This 'cartoon' was anything but funny. It's a direct racial slam to Our President. The person or persons who made that cartoon should be fired and never allowed to work in "journalism" again. Absolutely despicable. And what's wrong with the Post to have even published it. It's pretty obvious now.

    54 year old white female in Oregon

    February 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. African Black

    The only stupid and idiot people are the ones who call others such names.

    February 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. NY republican

    @ You know the Republican party is toxic when ... Palin bails on NRCC & CPAC – An elephant !? This stimulus law was purely and unadulterated product of a donkey!!! Chill folks, only the Democrat party symbol 🙂

    February 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. obama-mama

    I think the photo is racist again blacks and disrespectful of the poor woman that is fighting for her life in a hospital. It is despicable.

    February 18, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Voter

    Clearly Al and Eric Holder have been having a "dialogue" about race. This kind of nonsense only makes it harder for people to take the plight of black America seriously. Al Sharpton, and apparently Eric Holder, can find the injustice, the "victim" almost anywhere.

    Does Al really think that this complaint, designed to draw attention to himself, not Obama, is what the stimulus is about? The President of the United States announces the biggest commitment to take care of our own since the Great Depression, and Al Sharpton offers this??

    Al, face it. You are OUT OF STYLE. It had to happen some time. Try to be gracious about it instead of manufacturing injustices to stay on someone's payroll.

    February 18, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Jake

    This guy is freakin hilarious.....It will never end. Blacks have just as many opportunities (if not more) than whites.....but they just keep on keeping on.......GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. jeronimo!


    February 18, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Fred Atlanta GA

    Why doesnt the NY Post and everyone that does not see a problem with this cartoon EXPLAIN in FULL DETAIL what the heck does a chimp that got shot for mauling a women in CT have anything to do with the stimulus. Someone please explain because it's quite obvious that people will see this as racist since blacks have been referred to as monkeys/chimps, so explain to a lot of people what does a chimp have to do with the stimulus.

    February 18, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. single mom

    I stopped listening to Sharpton after the Tawana Bradley debacle.
    Could someone tell me just what School of Divinity he graduated from? What church he preaches at? What congregation he leads?
    MLK Jr was a Reverend. I haven't seen any evidence of that in Sharpton or Jackson.

    February 18, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Billy

    I am more afraid of these racist Americans than I am of Al Qaeda!

    February 18, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Mike in VA

    Not having seen the cartoon, I can't comment on it directly, but it does not sound as though it should be deemed racially offensive. For starters, Nancy Pelosi wrote the bill (does that mean it's a sexist cartoon instead). Furthermore, saying that a monkey could have written it merely indicates that it was incredibly bad legislation that no intelligent person could have dreamed up. What this does prove, however, is that the victim mentality that is pervasive amongst ultra liberals (of all races) is alive and well. For all the progress America has made on race relations in recent years (and our situation is better than almost any other nation on Earth), we'll never get over the hump as long as radicals see racism everywhere they look. This reminds me of the city council member in Houston, I believe, who decried the use of the term "black hole" as racist. Even after his colleagues explained that it was a celestial term, he still demanded an apology. Sadly, the comments on this post prove that that kind of ignorance is much more prevalent than I previously thought.

    February 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Ernie in LA

    Mr. Sharpton is a very useless person, second to Jesse Jackson.

    February 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Tom

    "We all know in the past that racist people referred to blacks as monkeys or chimps"

    No we don't all know, I did not think that when I saw the picture, I always thought it was because a monkey (anyone who can hold a pen) could have come up with that stimulus bill. I guess if you are raciest you saw that cartoon as raciest... If you look for other meanings in things everything can be what you want to see it as..

    I think Bush looked like a money and I saw a TON of cartoons of Bush as a monkey so whats the problem here????

    February 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. plainspeak

    Is he also going to condemn the police who shot the chimpanzee in Connecticut after it mauled a woman? Sounds like profiling to me...

    February 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Vicki5

    Anyone not offended by a portrayal of our president being shot, is an i.d.i.o.t. Shame on you. Better hope you are not victims of racism some day–you'll then wish people were not so desensitized about it.

    February 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. 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 by this.

    February 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Winston Smith

    The NY Post is a RIGHT WING rag.
    Us, New Yorkers don't take that newspaper seriously.
    That said...I think the whole cartoon controversy is silly.
    Everybody survived the New Yorker Magazine cover....so, we'll survive this one as well.
    There are more important things this country need to get serious about – and this cartoon is not one of them.

    February 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Al from Wisconsin

    Delonas and the Post might have a point that the cartoon referred to the Connecticut chimp story, but was all about the stimulus, if any logical connection could be made between the two. But it can't. The chimp story obviously gave them both the excuses they needed, however vague and however much of a stretch, to say what was really on their minds.

    The real outrage is that garbage like this, and those who eat it up, keep these jerks employed while so many decent people are losing their jobs.

    February 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Jessie H. Tucker

    It is most ridiculous and outrageous for the New York Post to defend the race-baiting cartoon of Sean Delonas. The sick humor falls short and is not worthy of being published. Shame on Col Allan, Sean Delonas and the New York Post for promoting racism and divisiveness in the most gross manner. It would be most fitting that the Post not share in any of the benefits of the Stimulus package.

    February 18, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. yd

    Let's be real. African Americans have been referred to as monkeys and apes since slavery. President Obama is the leader of the free world. Is their no respect for a black man in America?

    All of you trying to brush this aside as non racist should be ashamed. You know its racist. Who signed the stimulus bill? Who is dead on the sidewalk? Who is it that can't sign the next bill according to the cops holding the guns? Get Real America!! You know all to well what and who this is about.

    February 18, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Donnascag

    Why can't everyone relax and take a joke? Obviously the cartoonist was joking about the stimulus package NOT about our president being black or making fun of blacks. People who think that are either racists themselves or too sensitive to see realty.

    February 18, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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