"It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill. Period," reads the Post’s editorial apology. "But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President [Barack] Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism. This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."
The drawing played off the shocking events of Stamford, CT police officers shooting a crazed chimpanzee to death on February 16 after it severely mauled a woman. It portrayed an officer standing over a dead primate, commenting, "They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
Numerous public officials said the Post used the primate to portray Obama. The Post said in a February 18 statement that the cartoon was only a satire on current events.
The Post, however, also used its February 19 editorial to thumb its nose at critics.
"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 editorial continues. "Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else."
For his part, Rev. Al Sharpton, who led a protest in front of the Post’s offices on February 19, said another demonstration planned for February 20 will go on. Further action will be determined by the protesters’ leadership, he added.
"At this point, there will be no cancellation of the rally and though we think it is the right thing for them to apologize to those they offended, they seem to want to blame the offense on those who raised the issue, rather than take responsibility for what the Post did," Sharpton said in a statement.