John Legend's Open Letter to The Post

February 20, 2009 By:
John Legend's Open Letter to The Post

The NY Post has stirred up a lot of controversy with a cartoon caricaturing showing Monday’s police shooting of the chimpanzee in Stamford.

Many are outraged by the cartoon, which featured a caption that read,"They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,"
but editor Col Allan is defending it in a half-apology claiming that it "was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill" and not our current President.

Singer John Legend didn't take the cartoon caricature "joke" lightly and has written an open letter to the editor of the Post.

Read the letter below and let us know your thoughts on the cartoon:

Dear Editor:

I'm trying to understand what possible motivation you may have had for publishing that vile cartoon depicting the shooting of the chimpanzee that went crazy. I guess you thought it would be funny to suggest that whomever was responsible for writing the Economic Recovery legislation must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged, violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger community. Really?

Did it occur to you that this suggestion would imply a connection
between President Barack Obama and the deranged chimpanzee? Did it occur to you that our President has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have
historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

If that's not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully
ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it is
what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive to the sensibilities of most reasonable Americans.

Either way, you should not have printed this cartoon, and the fact that
you did is truly reprehensible. I can't imagine what possible
justification you have for this. I've read your lame statement in
response to the outrage you provoked. Shame on you for dodging the real issue and then using the letter as an opportunity to attack Rev.
Sharpton. This is not about Rev. Sharpton. It's about the cartoon
being blatantly racist and offensive.

I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to print what
you want. But freedom of speech still comes with responsibilities and
consequences. You are responsible for printing this cartoon, and I hope you experience some real consequences for it. I'm personally boycotting your paper and won't do any interviews with any of your reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the entertainment business to do so as well. I implore your advertisers to seriously reconsider their business relationships with you as well.

You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging that this
cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and should not have been

I'm well aware of our country's history of racism and violence, but I
truly believe we are better than this filth. As we attempt to rise
above our difficult past and look toward a better future, we don't need
the New York Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride the new administration and put black folks in our place. Please feel free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President, but do so without the incendiary images and rhetoric.


John Legend