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New York Post in race furore over monkey cartoon

NEW YORK - The New York Post has been accused by a prominent civil rights activist of using a satirical cartoon to portray Barack Obama as a monkey.

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The cartoon features two policemen who have just gunned down a monkey. One of them remarks: "They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus package." The $787bn economic stimulus bill is Obama's first major piece of legislation.

The New York Post's editor David Paterson has defended the cartoon. He said it was both parodying an incident this week in Connecticut where a pet chimpanzee was shot by police after going on the rampage, and mocking the government's attempts to revive the economy.

However controversial Baptist minister Rev Al Sharpton said the monkey was a direct portrayal of the president. He said: "The cartoon is troubling at best, given the historic racist attacks of African Americans as being synonymous with monkeys."

This is not the first time Obama has been portrayed as a monkey. During the US election t-shirts featuring the children's book monkey character Curious George were printed with the words Obama 08 and were seen at Republican rallies.

New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas has a record of causing controversy with his work for the paper. His cartoons have been accused of comparing homosexuality with bestiality while celebrity blog Gawker labelled him the Picasso of Predjudice.

A previous example of his work includes one featuring Heather Mills in a gun shop saying "An arms dealer? I thought you were a legs dealer". Another featured a man in New Jersey, which was due to legalise gay marriage, attempting to marry a sheep.

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