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Paper apologizes, to some, for chimp cartoon

AFTER two days of protests, the New York Post has apologized for a cartoon that some have interpreted as comparing United States President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee gunned down by police.

But the newspaper also said its longtime antagonists exploited the image for revenge. The qualified apology didn't mollify some of the cartoon's critics, who said they might continue protesting.

On its Website, the newspaper said the cartoon was meant to mock the federal economic stimulus bill, but "to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."

The piece was posted hours after 200 picketers chanting "Boycott the Post! Shut it down!" marched in front of the paper's office, saying the cartoon echoed racist stereotypes of black people as monkeys.

The editorial said that "most certainly was not its intent," adding that some media and public figures who had long-standing differences with the paper saw the cartoon "as an opportunity for payback." Calling them "opportunists," the editorial said: "To them, no apology is due."

The Reverend Al Sharpton, who helped lead the outcry over the cartoon, criticized what he called the paper's "conditional statement" of regret. "Though we think it is the right thing for them to apologize to those they offended, they seem to want to blame the offense on those who raised the issue, rather than take responsibility for what they did," he said.

The tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is known for its feisty attitude, provocative headlines and conservative outlook - a mix that has garnered hundreds of thousands of readers, but also criticism over the years.

The newspaper stood by the cartoon, which its editor called "a clear parody" about the death of Travis, the chimp police killed on Monday after it mauled a friend of its owner.

The drawing showed a dead chimp and two police officers, one with a smoking gun. The caption read: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."


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