Image: New York Post cartoon
Sean Delonas  /  AP
This cartoon image provided by the New York Post appeared in the Post's Page Six on Wednesday. The cartoon, which refers to Travis the chimp, who was shot to death by police in Stamford, Conn. on Monday after it mauled a friend of its owner, drew criticism.
updated 2/18/2009 4:25:16 PM ET 2009-02-18T21:25:16

The New York Post is standing behind a cartoon that some have interpreted as comparing President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee gunned down by police. The cartoon in Wednesday's Post by Sean Delonas shows two police officers standing over the body of a bullet-riddled chimp. One of the officers says the other, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called the cartoon "troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys."

But Sharpton said the Post should clarify the point it was trying to make with the cartoon, which was playing off Monday's rampage by a pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn., that left a woman severely mauled. Police ended up killing the chimp.

In a statement, Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said: "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."

A story about the cartoon on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post Web site drew hundreds of reader responses, many calling the cartoon racist and insensitive.

Sam Stein, a columnist for the site, wrote that "at its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written it. Most provocatively, it compares the president to a rabid chimp. Either way, the incorporation of violence and (on a darker level) race into politics is bound to be controversial."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Sharpton: 'Stunned' by shooting cartoon

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