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Position Statement Regarding an Offensive Cartoon

February 18, 2009

For Immediate Release [first published on February 18, 2009]

The League to Fight Neurelitism is a public sociology and an advocacy journalism project. We actively promote the application of United Nations values on human rights and social justice to all autistics.

A cartoon which appeared in the February 17, 2009, issue of the New York Post, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp (which also owns Fox News Channel and other media properties), pictured the shooting of a chimpanzee by police officers. It was accompanied with the words, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

The contexts of the cartoon were the mauling of a woman by her friend’s pet chimpanzee, in Stamford, Connecticut, and the passage of an economic stimulus package by the United States Congress. Critics, including the Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, have argued that, since this package had been vigorously promoted by President Barak Obama, the chimpanzee pictured in the cartoon was evidently a reference to him, and the Post should make a public apology.

Ostensibly, only the cartoonist, Sean Delonas, and his confidants in this situation (if any) know whether the chimp was intended to depict President Obama. Nonetheless, there is a long, unfortunate narrative, in the United States, of equating African Americans with chimpanzees and monkeys. In light of the justifiable sensitivity resulting from this history, and in consideration of the threats by some white supremacist groups to assassinate the president, the editors of the Post, in our view, should have exercised better judgment and refused to publish the cartoon.

Although The League to Fight Neurelitism is a project concerned with autistics, we believe in being consistent. It is our stance that all forms of prejudice, bigotry, and violations of civil and other human rights should be unreservedly censured. We, therefore, stand proudly with Rev. Sharpton, a man whom we deeply admire, in unequivocally denouncing this cartoon and demanding that the New York Post promptly offer an apology.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.
Founding Director,
The League to Fight Neurelitism

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