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Rupert Murdoch apologizes for chimp cartoon

  • Story Highlights
  • Murdoch, chairman of New York Post, says cartoon "was not meant to be racist"
  • He apologizes to "any reader who felt offended, and even insulted"
  • The cartoon, published last week, referenced chimp attack and stimulus bill
  • Many found it racist; NAACP has called for cartoonist to be fired
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The chairman of the New York Post, Rupert Murdoch, personally apologized Tuesday for an editorial cartoon published by the newspaper that drew charges of racism.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the New York Post, apologized Tuesday to readers offended by the cartoon.

This New York Post cartoon by Sean Delonas sparked a debate over race and cartooning.

"Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted," said the statement from Murdoch, who is also chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, which owns the paper.

"I can assure you -- without a doubt -- that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation.

"It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such. We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard, and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community."

The cartoon by Sean Delonas referenced the mauling of a Connecticut woman by a chimpanzee who was later shot and killed by police. In the caption, one of the officers says, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

The cartoon was published on Wednesday, a day after President Obama signed the stimulus bill.

The Post issued a statement the following day, apologizing but noting that the cartoon was meant to mock what it called an "ineptly written" stimulus bill.

Many critics said the cartoon played on historically racist images by appearing to compare Obama, the nation's first black president, to the chimpanzee.

Leaders of the NAACP on Saturday called for the firing of Delonas.

Delonas called the controversy "absolutely friggin' ridiculous."

"Do you really think I'm saying Obama should be shot? I didn't see that in the cartoon," Delonas told CNN. iReport.com: Share your thoughts on the cartoon, Murdoch's apology

"It's about the economic stimulus bill," he added. "If you're going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, which it's not."

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