NEW YORK (WPIX) -- A political cartoon published in the New York Post Wednesday, allegedly comparing President Barack Obama to a deranged chimpanzee has left many, including civil rights leader Al Sharpton, outraged.
The cartoon by Sean Delonas, shows two police officers moments after opening fire on a chimp, a reference to Monday's brutal incident that ended when a Stamford police officer shot and killed a pet chimpanzee who mauled a woman. The caption reads: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
Sharpton called the cartoon, "troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-American as being synonymous with monkeys."
He says the Post should have made clear the point it was trying to make.
"Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama and has become synonymous with him, it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?" Sharpton asked in a statement.
For its part, the NY Post, a largely conservative paper owned by news proprietor Rupert Murdoch, is denying any wrong-doing. In a statement, the newspaper's 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."
The story, first published on liberal website The Huffington Post, drew ire from hundreds of readers within minutes it was posted. Many people commented and called the cartoon racist and insensitive.
Sam Stein a columnist for the liberal-leaning site, wrote that "at its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written its. 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."
Delonas, a longtime cartoonist for Page Six, has sparked controversy in the past with certain caricatures.
For instance, a previous drawing mocked Paul McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills for having only one leg, while another compared gay people seeking marriage licenses to sheep lovers. Last month, Delonas portrayed a heavy-set Jessica Simpson dumping boyfriend Tony Romo for Ronald McDonald.