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ESSENCE Reports From the Frontlines of the NY Post Protest Over Cartoon

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Click here for photos of Reverend Al Sharpton's protest »

This hasn't been the best week for feisty newspaper, the New York Post, which has taken a few lumps lately for a controversial cartoon. On Wednesday, the paper published an illustration created by Sean Delonas which depicted two police officers shooting a monkey while saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." The image has angered countless New Yorkers because of the assumed inference to the first African-American President, Barack Obama and his bid to have the country's stimulus Act this week.

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton condemned the Post and Delonas not only for what he believed to be a racist depiction but also for what also seemed to be a violent strike against the President. Sharpton demanded an explanation saying, "The Post should at best clarify what point they were trying to make or in fact reprimand their cartoonist for making inferences that are offensive and divisive at a time the nation struggles to come together to stabilize the economy."

In a statement to the media, Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the New York Post stated, "The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist."

That comment hasn't stopped Sharpton and members of the National Action Network to lead a protest outside of the New York Post headquarters today in Mid-town Manhattan in hopes of not only bringing further attention to the issue but encouraging New Yorkers from continuing to buy and thus support the newspaper. The protest will continue tomorrow afternoon with famed director Spike Lee joining the fight.

UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., a professional organization for more than 10,000 journalists of color, criticized the newspaper's use of the image and considers their explanation to be "weak."

"Are we to believe that the image of a slain chimpanzee juxtaposed with a comment about the stimulus package would not lead reasonable people to draw a comparison with the person with whom the stimulus package is most associated? Surely, Mr. Delonas and the editors can't be that obtuse," said UNITY President Rafael Olmeda.

What are your thoughts about the cartoon? Do you find it racist or provocative?


Click here for photos of Reverend Al Sharpton's protest »

Click here to read what Washington Correspondent has to say»

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