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. Keith, Co

    Well, I hate to play devils advocate but the term "Those monkeys in Washington!" comes to mind. and when I was growing up that meant congress. There were no African Americans in congress when i was growing up so I don't Hear the race baiting. Having said that, it's obvious that the post wants it both ways. Perhaps they get off on the thought of it offending some one.

    February 18, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. give 50 billion public money to loansharks?????

    so that they could continue to suck the blood out of the working poor?

    that's the bEst you can do, obama?


    you really think we the people are dumber than door knobs!

    February 18, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Steph

    A perfect example of why Eric Holder said we need to have an honest discussion about race.

    February 18, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. james g

    I don't think the insult is in regards to the President being shot. Depicting the President as a monkey casts a much more negative stereotype that has existed for many years. Mr. Delonas can play ignorant if if he chooses, but he knew exactly what his intent was.

    February 18, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Scott, Tucson

    Monkey see, Monkey do...

    February 18, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Carol

    Jane, yes. And the same goes for Reverend Sharpton. He has the right to voice his objection.

    What was the point of the cartoon in correlating the killing of the chimpanzee to the stimulus bill? For one thing, it is not funny. Be honest.

    Were they trying to convey that the next chimp that puts a stimulus plan through will get shot down? I don't mean shot down in the literal sense. But come on, it was ignorant. When you smoke out people who talk like that they always cry it isn't racist. Then what was it? Surely, no one is going to think that was hilarious repartee from the newspaper. He WAS trying to make some correlation to race, but the guy is too chicken to admit it.

    February 18, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. pat

    To Mike in Syracuse NY iam not a Sharpton fan myself but only a racist fool would think that this is not racist .

    February 18, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. mrw

    I am down right offended by the comment made and it clearly is a racist remark. If no one sees that remark as racist then something is clearly wrong. That writer needs to be fired. He clearly was referring to President Obama! Come on racist people do you honestly think God made you and only you in this whole wide world. You are not the only race of people on this whole wide earth! Wake up and read your bibles more and pray for forgiveness!

    February 18, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. drh49

    Sharpton pay your taxes.
    It is time for you to get a real job and stop leaching off people.
    We are tired of seeing your face. All you want to do is stir things up and then prentend to fix it.
    You are prejudiced against the white people and everytime you speak it shows.

    February 18, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. brian


    February 18, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Aaron

    anyone who just happens to think that this ad was innocent or somehow taken out of context is in a serious state of denial. sure every president is open to criticism fair or unfair, but this is overboard. surely the n y post should do a better job of censorship. there is nothing tasteful about this. dixie chicks make a comment about thier oppostion to the war and their careers are in serious jeopardy. what will come of this idiot of a cartoonist. can't his actions be deemed as non-patriotic or even terroristic. it is all depending on who is writing the story.

    February 18, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Scott, Tucson

    Well at least we're civilized enough not to be seeking the blood and cutting off the heads of the cartoonist and editors like some Peace Loving Religious group whom I won't mention here.

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

    Of all the battles you could choose to fight, this is the one you think will best solve racial divides? People who think this man's primary agenda is addressing true cases of racism in America are clearly mistaken. He is a politician, and an opportunist, and I believe people are quite frankly tired of his over-hyped outrage on anything with a possibility of veiled racism.

    February 18, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Ray Chicago

    If the monkey is referring to Nancy] Pelosi I don't get it. Sound pretty racism to me

    February 18, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Obama Victim

    if the shoe fits

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

    Give 'em hell, Al...they deserve it!!!

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

    I've already canceled my subscription to the NY Post and so have my family, friends and many co-workers. There's no need to "argue" over the photo. Anyone with a BRAIN can read and see the blatant racial inference being made. If the word "stimulus" wasn't used in the cartoon caption, there would BE NO connection to President Obama.

    Delonas KNEW exactly what the word 'stimulus" would infer in the monkey. Let's stop mincing words here, you'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know who Delonas was referring to in his cartoon. We can "sugar coated ALL we want, we can sit here and BLAME Rev. Al Sharpton for stating the obvious.

    The FACT remains, the word "stimulus" refers to President Obama and by using the monkey in such a deplorable manner, is just despicable beyond words.

    I hope the NY Post is willing to take a BIG HIT at the expense of Delonas. MONEY TALKS and BS walks. So the more people cancel their subscription, the CLEARER the message becomes to the NY Post.

    End of Story.

    February 18, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Once you vote Black

    Now hold on there TCM. First I must say it is an honor to be insulted by someone who is a pure and American and clean as you. But to bring up Tawana B is below your whiteness. After all Al was just standing up for someone who came to him. And you know those white cops are known for their klan activity. Last, did you know there are more white folks on death row who actually did it then there are blacks in Meza AZ? That is a stat!

    February 18, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Jerry D.

    JIm in PA;
    No matter who wrote the dm bill President Obama signed the bill so you are labeling him as the monkey not Pelosi. People think that others can't read between the lines but if you are a newspaper editor or cartoonist your work should be critic before you run it, as to not cause harsh pain to others. I myself think the man who publish the cartoon should take a look at his surrounding and see if there is any resembance on his part as well. No matter what and how you may try to smear or tear down the President, he is an Africian American and in change. The cartoonist and his boss should get a lot of heat from this article but because they are of color nothing will be said or done. No tell me racism is not there.

    February 18, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Lee

    Those of you who see nothing wrong with the cartoon, think again. You probably wouldn't see anything wrong with a lynching either. If it offends people, it probably is WRONG idiots!

    February 18, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. cheryl from Cali

    We have always been portrayed as monkeys, it's nothing new. Thanks Al for speaking out against it, and thats all we can do... If someone said something negative or wrote something negative about the Jews, you would loose your job... The media have not spoken good about The President before the election and now after the election. I believe the Media runs the country until we the people put a end to it. By the way would you consider the cartoon a Terrorist Threats?

    February 18, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Christopher

    Oh my goodness, somebody has made fun of Obama! This is a tragedy! What are we going to do?!?! lol

    Grow up. I know it is hard for liberals to take jokes, and they tend to throw the race card around when their feelings are hurt, but guess what, this joke is no different than any joke thrown at Bush during the last eight years.

    The biggest reason there is still racism in the country is because liberals keep bringing attention to race. Keep race out of this. It was a joke. If you don't like it, then turn the page. Don't try to make it a race issue.

    February 18, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. dgr

    Sean D, you had better rent aroom in the sky!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Joyce

    The cartoon says WRITE the next stimulus bill, this stimulus bills was wrote by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Obama just signs it, I think that Al Sharpton is just worried that if racism is on the way out so is he.

    February 18, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. emma

    Here comes another controversial issue. Whether there were racial implications in the cartoon is an individual opinion. What most of us should agree on is the lack of sensitivity racial or otherwise when we deal with a diverse group of individuals. Why stir the hornets nest to begin with? There is always someone who will interpret things different and the racial history in America makes everything so complicated. In short let us be sensitive.

    February 18, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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