Legend's Newspaper Backlash Prompts Apology
Media magnate RUPERT MURDOCH has apologised to readers of his New York newspaper, after singer JOHN LEGEND criticised editors for running a controversial cartoon featuring the shooting of a chimp.
The R&B star called for a boycott of the New York Post last week (beg16Feb09) following the publication of a sketch of two police officers standing over the body of a chimpanzee they just shot, with one remarking, 'They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.'
The drawing was a reference to a recent news story about a woman who was mauled by a pet chimpanzee, which was subsequently shot by cops.
But the cartoon came under fire, with many claiming it was a thinly-veiled mockery of new President Barack Obama, because of the link to the recent stimulus legislation, designed to prop up the U.S. economy.
Legend was appalled, and wrote an open letter to the newspaper, stating, "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."
But now Murdoch, the chairman of the Post's owners News Corporation, has issued a personal apology to his readers, insisting the company had not intended to offend readers.
In a statement to CNN.com, he writes, "Today I want to personally apologise to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted. 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."