Post Issues ‘Apology’ Over Racist Cartoon

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The New York Post did something it rarely does. The paper apologized for running Sean Delonas’ racist cartoon by issuing writing a 151-word  editorial in Friday’s paper.

The Post says the cartoon “meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.” Others, including me, saw it very differently.

This isn’t a real mea culpa. What the Post wrote is a backhanded apology with qualifiers. “To those offended by the image, we apologize,” the Post said. Admit you were wrong and misguided in publishing the cartoon. That’s a real apology. I fully expect the apology to soon appear on Harry Shearer‘s apologies of the week, a feature of his public radio program Le Show that criticizes half-hearted apologies.

Mocking the bill is totally legitimate, but using racist imagery depicting an African American as a monkey to get the point across in wrong on so many levels.  Talented editorial cartoonists are certainly provocateurs and should challenge a reader’s comfort zone. That isn’t Delanos. He’s a hack who takes the easy way out with most of his cartoons. He takes cheap shots instead of designing sophisticated images that will enlighten the reader.

On Wednesday I spoke with Ted Rall, who is president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists and a syndicated cartoonist with the Universal Press Syndicate, about the cartoon. Rall explained that “what most editorial cartoons try to do is combine two items from the news.” In this instance it was the shooting of the deadly chimpanzee in Connecticut on Monday and the signing of the stimulus bill. However, in this instance when you have two “stories that couldn’t be less related” it tends to result in lame cartoons, he said.

Though he wasn’t apologizing for Delonas, Rall said, “For people who are accustomed to his work, I don’t think [this cartoon] is a great departure.”

In the apologetic editorial, the Post takes great pains to let Rev. Al Sharpton know that the apology excludes him. Sharpton, who has been criticized as a civil rights opportunist by the Post, was first out the gate to condemn the cartoon. I think Sharpton and Post publisher Col Allen should settle their longstanding feud in the boxing ring, instead of distracting from the issue of the racist cartoon.

The fact that the Post saw fit to apologize for the cartoon shows that it may yet become a paper that is for all New Yorkers and not just a select hue. Of maybe all the protests, calls for boycotts, and negative attention got to be too much.

Full text of the Post’s apology:

Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled

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    We agree. We wrote about this “backhanded apology” earlier today.

  • rasheed

    No matter how much apologies rendered by this people,nothing is going to change until we as people(black community) ready to take control our own live by having a total freedom. Freedom to have a business own and control by black people, most of the business are afffiliated to the white businesses and so the black busineeses have no total control of the business.Until then we are still slave under the white people.

  • rasheed

    @Afro sheen, we look like monkeys? no we do not look like monkeys they just made us think that we look like monkeys, there alot of animals we can say looks like white people, but never brought to our attention and we never even think about or talk about it.

  • YoungBlackMale

    I believe this cartoon was in such bad taste regardless of what the cartoonist might say his intentions were.

  • Nellin McIntosh

    My dollar has been offended and will never have any relations with the NY post EVER again! This shameful cartoon was RACIST, it promoted TREASON…it took lightly the horrific truth which exists in the AA community whereby authorities typically shoot down the one who was supposed to be an African American caricature. It was highly INSENSITIVE, UNINTELLIGENT, and completely void of any edit worthy communication. The United States of America should be offended by the NY post depicting its President as a Monkey and making light of a possible assasination.

  • Seth Golden wrote a book several years ago called the “Purple Cow.” He stated in his book “even negative publicity is publicity.” One thing I hate about this time period is how people are knowingly creating negative publicity just to be “published.” How can a prestigious organization like the Post not know that shooting a monkey and making the statement they made not be translated to “Obama.” The wanted publicity and they got it. The apology is pitiful to say the least. How can anyone make a cartoon out of a Presidential assasination and get away with it?

    Well, who will be next. Chris Brown and Riana are the hot topic now. I am not saying that Riana wanted Chris to do this; however, they are on the cover of every major magazine in the country. Is this something that Chris wanted? It makes one wonder. I wonder how many CD’s and downloads he will sell as a result of this negative press. Chances are he will get TV and book deal soon.

    Well once all of this blows over, get ready, the next stupid and insensitive things will make the headlines. That is the American way.

  • Jay Johnson

    When I read this half hearted apology, I get the feeling the Post believes very few people see this as racist. I have had my differences with Rev. Sharpton’s technique’s but he has, is, and will be the voice to point out racial inequities in this country. If they dissagree with him and the weight of this article, it’s time to make our voices heard loud and clear. Write them, and let the Post, it’s owners, and financial backers know it is a far cry from JUST Rev. Sharpton being an opportunist.

  • Baron Brown

    Loved the comment about “dollar” being “offended”. And, echo the sentiments that support Reverend Al Sharpton’s efforts to confront such issues. The boycott of the Post’s supporting advertisers, first I believe broached by John Legend, should continue unabated.

  • Dear Ms. Skinner & BE readers:

    Black Planet broke this story last week and Al Sharpton planned a rally outside the Post the next day. Still I don’t think the word has gotten out to the black on the street since the big bigot is FOX and all its subsidiaries. There have been several violations against blacks and others over the last few years. These people don’t need a reason to attack and they need to be stopped right now. I strongly suggest we discuss the influence FOX has on our lives and boycott the entire stinking lot.

  • Deardra

    The New York Post has been posting racist cartoons and making subtle and not so subtle comments about people of color for some time. I can even recall an article by former Mayor Ed Koch that was very racist in tone when he talked about his vacation in Brazil where he was surprised there were so many blacks there and went on to say his vacation didnt improve until he met some whites. And this is Koch, who claims to have marched in the Civil Rights marches.

    Also, Murdoch has been buying up black newspapers. This of course effectively silences their voice since he pays their salaries yet assures these papers dont protest against anything Murdoch might say to offend the communities of color.

    The thing to check is whether monopolies are illegal. I thought they were NOT at one time. Owning both broadcasting and print mediums as Murdoch does, sets a dangerous precedence and assures his control over the media to a large degree and he should be forced to divest his interests in some of his media holdings, particularly the newspapers of color.

    Pressure should be placed on Murdoch and the New York Post until Murdoch either is forced to divest some of his media properties. That, or Murdoch agrees to hire minority employees, stop all racist rethoric and attacks whether subtle and/or overt, and enforce sensitivity training throughout his holdings. Murdoch must attend them too since the newspapers and broadcast media which has been liberally attacking Obama, etc., could not do so were it not approved from the very top.

  • Deardra


  • dreamaker

    I guess I am completely wrong. I thought the cartoon likening the stimulus bill to “an infinite number of chimps at an infinite number of typewriters…”

  • I love and support Chris always!