Video: Murdoch apologizes for cartoon

updated 2/24/2009 12:08:37 PM ET 2009-02-24T17:08:37

New York Post Chairman Rupert Murdoch has apologized for a cartoon that critics said likened a violent chimpanzee shot dead by police to President Barack Obama.

Murdoch published a statement Tuesday, saying he wanted to "personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted." He says the Post will work to be more sensitive.

Murdoch says last Wednesday's cartoon was intended only to "mock a badly written piece of legislation."

It depicted the body of the bullet-riddled chimp Travis — killed in Connecticut last week after mauling a woman — and two police officers. The caption said: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

The Post also apologized last week in an online editorial, although the newspaper also said the image was exploited by its longtime antagonists.

In that editorial, the paper said the cartoon was meant to mock the federal economic stimulus bill, but "to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."

Demonstrations outside paper
The editorial also said some people who have long-standing differences with the paper saw the cartoon "as an opportunity for payback."

The editorial calls them "opportunists" and says: "To them, no apology is due."

On Thursday, hundreds of demonstrators rallied to boycott the paper, branding it as racist.

Demonstrators led by civil rights activist Al Sharpton chanted "End racism now!" outside the parent company's skyscraper in midtown Manhattan and called for the jailing of Murdoch.

Sharpton said the cartoon exploited a potent image in the history of racism toward blacks.

Police in Stamford, Connecticut, shot and killed a 200-pound chimpanzee last week after the pet nearly killed its owner's friend and attacked a police car. The chimp, named Travis, had once starred in television commercials and was taking medication for Lyme disease.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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