News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch personally apologized today (February 24) for a cartoon published in The New York Post.
The cartoon, which was published last Wednesday (February 18 ) in The New York Post, featured two police officers – one with a smoking gun – standing over a bullet-riddled dead chimp.
The caption read: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” The cartoon, authored by Sean Delonas, was published just one day after President Barack Obama signed a historic stimulus bill.
“Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted,” said the statement from Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., which also owns Fox, the F/X cable network, 20th Century Fox and various publishing interests in addition to The New York Post.
“I can assure you — without a doubt — that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation.” Murdoch said the cartoon was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.”
“We all hold the readers of The New York Post in high regard, and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community,” said Murdoch.
During an interview with CNN, Delonas himself made an attempt to defend the cartoon, which has made national headlines around the world.
“Do you really think I’m saying Obama should be shot? I didn’t see that in the cartoon,” Delonas told CNN. “It’s about the economic stimulus bill,” he added. “If you’re going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, which it’s not.”
Meanwhile, the fallout over the article continues and Murdochs apology may have come too late.
On Saturday (February 21), the NAACP issued an ultimatum to The New York Post and FOX, threatening a boycott if Delonas and Australian editor-in-chief, Col Allan.
There is consensus that if the Post does not get rid of the journalists who are responsible for this bit of hate speech seeing the light of day, that we will move this from a local, regional issue to a very national issue, said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP.