A New York Post cartoon that some have interpreted as comparing US President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee gunned down by police drew outrage Wednesday from civil rights leaders and elected officials who said it echoed racist stereotypes of blacks as monkeys.
The cartoon in Wednesday's Post by Sean Delonas shows two police officers, one with a smoking gun, standing over the body of a bullet-riddled chimp. And the other says: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
The cartoon refers to a chimpanzee named Travis who was killed Monday by police in Stamford, Conn., after it mauled a friend of its owner.
Obama signed his administration's economic stimulus plan on Tuesday.
Some critics called the cartoon racist and said it trivialized a tragedy in which a woman was disfigured and a chimpanzee killed. Others said the cartoon suggests that Obama should be assassinated. Many urged a boycott of the Post and the companies that advertise in it.
"How could the Post let this cartoon pass as satire?" said Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists. "To compare the nation's first African-American commander in chief to a dead chimpanzee is nothing short of racist drivel."
The cartoon set off a furious response against the Post. Its phones rang all day with angry callers. Protesters picketed the tabloid's Manhattan offices, demanding an apology and chanting "shut the Post down."
Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post, defended the work.
"The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut," Allan said in a statement. "It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy."