The cartoon references reports that Stamford, CT police officers shot a monkey to death on February 16 after it severely mauled a friend of its owner. Critics, including Rev. Al Sharpton, have said that the cartoon chimpanzee may mock President Barack Obama, who signed his stimulus plan into law on February 17 after lengthy negotiations with Congress.
The statement, attributed to Col Allen, Post editor-in-chief, contends that "the cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut." Post rep Suzanne Halpin, an EVP at Rubenstein Communications, said the newspaper is conducting no other outreach regarding the cartoon.
"It broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy," Allen said in the statement. "Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist."
Sharpton, referencing the long-time use of primates as racist caricatures of black Americans, said in a statement on February 18 that the newspaper should "at least clarify what point they were trying to make".
New York Gov. David Paterson also said that the Post should explain the cartoon.