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. Jason

    It is perfectly acceptable to portray Bush as a monkey, but to do Obama in-kind, it runs the risk of agitating Al Sharpton's hemmoroids?

    February 18, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Gina in Racine Wi

    I am offended. Outraged. And not surprised that Delonis took a page right out of Bill O'Reilly's book to defend this.

    Racism, sexism.....it has no place in our Society.

    Doing/saying/publishing something offensive.....and then claiming that it wasn't and "how dare you misjudge this" is really old. It doesn't work.

    We all know its intent.

    February 18, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. ronnie

    As a 33 year old Black Male, my initial reaction, "that's so racist", lasted a millisecond. I then remembered the pet chimp that was killed yesterday and realized the artist was trying to say THAT chimp wrote the stimulus bill. Everyone needs to understand the sensitivity surrounding racism in America, given it's history. We all need to let it go... on both sides of the fence. We all have a responsibility to social awareness. Some need to be more conscience of the wounds that, for some, may still in the healing process. Some need to embrace the time we are in... one that elected, overwhelmingly, our nation's first African-American President, and find comfort in knowing that there are now LESS people with the old racist attitude than there are those that put the future of our beloved country into the hands of an African-American. The tides have turned and the bandages protecting our wounds can now be removed.

    February 18, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Robin

    Well, on the other hand, how many times has GWB been compared to Curious George?

    February 18, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Earl of Manchester

    Perhaps Mr Sharpton would prefer a self portrait cartoon depicting wagging finger and tongue.

    Take a deep breath Al and understand that Shaq's appearance in white face mask and all white attire did not require an out cry of racism and poor taste nor should you reach for extremes trying to tie words and pictures to racism and poor taste when it just ain't so!

    I'm sure that the developers of the presidents stimulus program were not all black but the sure as hell were a bunch of monkeys.

    February 18, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. obama supporter

    I don't care what the editor says this is racist. how in the hell can he say it isn't , it's insentative and those idiots over at the new york post know it. it's people like this that try to hide there prejudice by doing crap like this, that's exactly what this is crap. The ignorance of the media and new paper is worse everyday.

    oil engineer

    You are an IDIOT.

    February 18, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Simpliticus

    Of course, the New York Post is going to poke fun at Obama! A black man has to replace a white man as president and clean up after him after the white man has made such gargantuan messes such that it would be a monumental action to turn around such messes and to do so will markedly make the black man far more advanced than the white man. Now, given the aspect of EVOLUTION which the Post might not like to agree with, the white man's capabilities come under close scrutiny. Even with the aspect of CREATIONISM, it is more difficult for the Post to realize that God produced such a white man to induce such actions that calls into question God's role in doing so. As a result, the Post must contend with ridiculous cartoons because both EVOLUTIONARY as well as from a CREATIONIST point of view, there is no palpable leg to stand on but this nonsense!

    February 18, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Alex

    It seems Dellonas has his head up his butt. Howard Cosell got bintn trouble for the same problem. When ar you people going to learn? Do you think we are stupid?

    February 18, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Let's get real: Unless we find some evidence that there was some racist intent behind the choice of imagery, we really can't say it was anything more than a serious serious error on the part of the cartoonist and the editors in not recognizing how the imagery could be interpreted (or in not caring either way). They should probably apologize, but once they do, that should really be the end of it.

    February 18, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. marty-Licoln, NE

    Dear Sean Delnos, please spare your racially charged cartoon pardody of my and your president of the United States to yourself. Therefore, your should be ashame of yourself for posting this sort of racist cartoon in the New York Post. We are do not need to see this kind of racism at a time when some many people are hurting. For just a minute try to imagine what it would feel like to walk in an African American person shoes when this sort of rascism is printed in the media. I am a Black American and truly bother by this sort of media type of racism being put out there by others like you who think what you are doing is funny okay. Well, it is not funny is is hurtful so you so stop doing this crap.

    February 18, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. Dee

    I think the cartoonist and editor both need to take their heads out of the sand on this one! We all know that African Americans have often been ridiculed by racists as being ape like ...thus for these NY Post folks to suggest it isnt racist is b.s.!! Even if not intended to be so ,they should have known folks would draw those inferences.. It is very offensive!!!

    February 18, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. chuck

    Delonas should be the monkey. I think that all who had a part to play in the publishing of the article should be considered as monkeys and morons.

    February 18, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. f kimbrough

    i thought the cartoon depicted Bush ..he does have a mind like a chimp and looks like one

    February 18, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |


    February 18, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Rob

    Sharpton is simply trying to get his name out there. The world may stop spinning if his name is not in the paper at least once a week. I am sick of this man who is a racist himself. He hates white people and I for one do not tolerate racism from any color, sex, or creed. Sharpton needs racism because that is where his money comes from. Without racism there is no need for Sharpton so he must keep racism in the spotlight.

    February 18, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    Sorry, but that cartoon was beyond ignorant. American's are better then that. Regardless of the track record, we are better then that and must make it more evident. It's freedom of speech, not freedom of ignorance.

    February 18, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Did the cartoon character look like sharpton?

    February 18, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Daniel Burse

    The cartoonist and the editor may not think or meant it to be racist but it is. The cartoonist is FRIGGIN ridiculous to not see that. It just shows that he, aside from work, does not hang around black people on a regular bases or in social situations consistently. If he did or his editor did socialize with black people regularly, they never would have run the cartoon and not known it was offensive. It clearly is in very poor taste and I will not be a customer of the New York Post any longer. I am Canceling my subscription Right Now!!!

    February 18, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. no corporate politics

    Nixon's enemies were "radicals"
    Reagan's enemies were "communists"
    Bush's enemies were "axis of evil" / "terrorists"
    Obama's enemies are "racists"

    This is not a drill. We need the freedom of the press. Obama is hopefully spending my hard earned taxes wisely, and is ordering peoples death in missle strikes and sending us to war. We need to keep him on track and honest.

    Remember hanging Palin in effegy in Calif. was protected as "art". And Obama was silent. Maybe what goes around, comes around.

    February 18, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Nathan,

    To suggest that this cartoon was in no way tryiing to reflect a negative sentiment on Obama is ludricus. That is exactly what that moron and that paper was trying to do. They hate this man and what he has been able to overcome as a black man in this country to be the the face of what these racist punks think is their country. How can anybody with its racist history of comparing African Americans to apes not think that cartoon was not offensive. They knew exactly what they were doing. Their problem is that they're so blind by their hatred of any black that has the gall to aspire to something greater than them that they go to what they know best, racial sterotypes. It took a lot of diversity to make Obama win. The morons at the New Your Postwould shrink if they knew how many of their own will find this cartoon offensive. People should stop reading this trash and advertisers should advertise elsewhere. If they don't then we should stop buying their products.

    February 18, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. Matthew, Detroit

    Well since we all know Nancy Pelosi wrote the bill, Nancy is the monkey.

    February 18, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. MICK in MESA

    This "monkey" thing is just another way for black folks to play the race card just ot play the race card even if it's not in anyy way deserving.
    There you go AG Holder, I'm talking straight about this race BS...
    Lighten up – it's joke about a monkey! Jeezus...

    February 18, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Former Republican


    February 18, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Mississippi Mike

    Sharpton is a racist in every sense of the word

    February 18, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Shawn-Tx

    I blame the Washington Post editors for deciding to print this when it obviously could spark racial backlash. Either way you look at it, it's a messed up joke. Police shooting a monkey like they did the other day when the monkey tore a ladies face off, how's that funny? And then to say that whoever wrote the stimulus package is a monkey, even less funny. All the news networks and newspapers have been calling it Obama's stimulus package and the majority of it is his ideas, so how is it not a clear shot at Obama? And Al Sharpton didn't even say it was racism for sure, he just said the Washington Post should have been smarter and clarified the picture, which is absolutely true!!

    February 18, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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