Reverend Al Sharpton and about 70 protesters gathered in front of the FOX building in New York City on February 19. The protest comes one day after the New York Post released a satirical cartoon depicting two White police officers shooting a chimpanzee with the words, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
Sharpton talks to protesters and the media outside of the New York Post headquarters.
“They could have met with dialogue, they have chosen to meet with confrontation. We did not choose that, we asked for clarity, they turned around and slammed the door in our face. We asked, ‘Why would you do this in such a time in this economic stimulus bill and the first African-American President?’ They called us names so we have no choice but to say that we cannot sit back.”
Rev. Sharpton and about 70 protesters gathered in front of the FOX building in New York City today. The protest comes one day after the New York Post released a satirical cartoon depicting two White police officers shooting a chimpanzee with the words, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
Protesters came out at noon to express their outrage at the publication’s lack of discretion. ESSENCE.com was at the scene to capture these first-hand images of the event.
“I’m here to support my people for the racists comments that were made in the New York Post. We hope to shut down the business that creates this New York newspaper. This is not the first time that they printed something to offend us. We are here, we pay our taxes, we support this economy, we invest in the economy and we should be treated with the same respect. It’s a long time coming,” says Tracey Watson, 46, who lives in Brooklyn, but came down to join the protest on Thursday, February 19.
“I want to make sure that they aren’t going to get away with this. They make undertone remarks on a continuous basis. And it’s time that we make a statement as we are doing right now. To make sure that they understand, if this doesn’t stop, we as consumers can make it stop. We can affect them financially,” says Val Hameed, 44, of Orange County, New York.
“I’m here because I saw the cartoon and I object to it. When I saw it without even reading it, I thought it suggested assassinating the President, explains South Carolina resident Juanita Thomas.
“[The cartoonist] should be in jail. Shutting this place down is one thing, and we can work that out. But I think that young man should pay for what he said.”
Protesters took to Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, holding picket signs etched with words of outrage and dismay in front of the New York Post headquarters.
Picketers took to the street with a calm determination. While onlookers watched in awe as the crowd passionately chanted “Stop the Post!”
“I’m here to demonstrate against a racist paper. Close the paper down. For 61 years, I’ve been doing this. I’m not going to stop doing this until the fat lady sings,” explains Dabney Montgomery, a former Tuskegee Airman who fought in World War II.
Spoken word artist Dow Kevin Buford explains why he’s so angry at the New York Post’s decision to publish a controversial cartoon and what made him come out to Thursday’s protest.
“I’m here because I’m angry at that racist cartoon that the Post put in the paper. I also brought my poem because I want people to see that it’s a Black man that invented the advance printing press that they print that rag with. It’s a Black man that invented the elevator that goes upstairs to those buildings. It’s a Black man that invented a heater for that building. Black man who invented practically everything and we need to know that."
“I’m here for my President. I hope that everything works out all right. I will come back tomorrow if it doesn’t,” promises 84-year-old Eloise Fowler.
In an official statement, National Action Network member Taharka Robinson explains why they are protesting the New York Post and how this issue is bigger than just racism.
“This is not only about the President. For years African-Americans have been called chimps and monkeys, so therefore, they’re indicating that is our President. We can not allow these practices to go on in the media.”
“What they did is a sin against humanity. They depicted our President as a chimpanzee and to me that is racist. He’s the President of everybody, not just Black, White, blue, or green,” says George Johnson, 65, who traveled from New Jersey for the protest.
As told to: Jenisha Watts and Lauren Blassingame