NAACP Threatens National Action Against NY Post

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postcartoonThe fallout continues and could be getting worse over the New York Post’s controversial cartoon. The paper apologized for the drawing earlier in the week, but protestors say that’s not enough. Now, the NAACP is demanding action over the weekend, or else. In addition to firings, the NAACP demands that the paper issue a full apology – and says that if they don’t get what they’re asking for, they’ll take their protest to a new level. The cartoon in question pictured a chimp gunned down by two police officers, one of whom says, “they’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” The publication of the drawing by the Post is already spurring a grassroots boycott.”No one is buying the Post,” one newsstand worker says. “I got 10 this morning, and I still have seven [left].”

According to the NAACP, that may soon be the least of the paper’s problems.

Local and national leaders are demanding that the editor-in-chief either resign, or be fired, over the cartoon.

“It was apparent to everybody that this was directed to the President of the United States,” Lawrence Hamm, of the People’s Organization for Progress, said.

Leaders in the black community want a second apology from the paper and say that if they don’t get it, they’ll take drastic national action against the Post’s parent company, News Corporation. The company owns a large conglomerate of television stations and newspapers.

“There will be actions at dozens of Fox affiliates across the country, drawing attention to the responsibility of the parent corporation to discipline its subsidiary,” NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous says.

Jealous, head of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, urged readers to boycott the New York Post on Saturday, calling a cartoon the tabloid published an invitation to assassinate the president.

In a statement issued Thursday night, the Post says the cartoon was intended to mock the stimulus bill, not the president. It denied claims that the cartoon smacked of racism, but apologized to anyone who was offended.

But that apology, it seems, only made those who are offended even angrier.

“We cannot, should not, tolerate that kind of sick human – because it is not funny at all,” NAACP Chairman Myrlie Evers-Williams says.

In addition, the group says it has enlisted several members to reach out to advertisers demanding they pull their ads from the paper.

“The New York Post’s decision to publish a blatantly racist cartoon comparing our commander in chief to a dead chimpanzee is absolutely unacceptable, especially given the historic racist stereotypes of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys,” the NAACP posted on its web site.

The NAACP said they’ve enlisted several members to reach out to advertisers demanding they pull their ads from the paper.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the headquarters of The Post Friday to voice their outrage, demanding the cartoonist and editor be punished and chanting “The Post must go!” and “Shut them down!”

Many readers told CBS 2 HD on Thursday and Friday they found that cartoon highly offensive and racist. The Post addressed the controversy on Thursday night on its Web site. Then on Friday on its editorial page the newspaper published a statement, saying “Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.”

The paper also offered an apology to those offended, and dismissed those whom The Post says would use the situation to attack the newspaper.

“It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: ‘They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill’, one officer says. It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill. Period. But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism,” the newspaper said. “This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.”

“However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback. To them, no apology is due,” the paper said.

Rev. Al Sharpton and several protesters said on Friday that apology was not enough. “Apology is a good gesture. It’s a good first step,” Sharpton said. “But it does not answer where we want it to go because unless you deal with policy, what safeguards this from not happening again?”

Lee didn’t mince words about his feelings on the cartoon.

“New York City is the greatest city on this Earth,” Lee said. “It’s the most diverse city and that cartoon was an insult to everybody. It’s not just black folks – that cartoon was an insult to everybody, and we’re here to let them know about it.”

Everyday New Yorkers were more animated in their opinions.

“I think at this point a little more than an apology needs to be done,” Far Rockaway resident Bill Jones said. “I think that, basically, the level of the insult, the fact that it was done so callously, the fact that it was with total disregard for feelings or the reality of the community, I think that more than a simple apology is needed.”

Added Ted Auerbach of Brooklyn: “The apology was not enough. It was a racist and horrible, horrible cartoon and I believe it insults all of us. It insults white people; it insults black people; it insults everyone. It’s not enough. It was a sign of racism.”

The protesters said they will continue to show up outside The Post’s offices until their demands are met.

{WCBS2-HD/ Newscenter}


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