Belgian Paper Apologizes For Satirical Feature Depicting Obama As An Ape

A Belgian newspaper apologized Monday after it was accused of racism for running a satirical feature that depicted President Barack Obama as an ape.

Ahead of Obama’s planned visit to the country, Flemish daily De Morgen ran an image Saturday in its “The Daily Herald” satirical section — titled “The Obama Herald” for the occasion — that doctored a photo of the President and First Lady Michelle Obama to make them look like two apes, according to The Independent.

The doctored image was presented as if submitted to the paper by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Independent. A second image of Obama was printed with the text “First black president of the USA starts selling weed.”

De Morgen apologized on page 2 of its Monday edition for what it called a “tasteless joke” and admitted that its editors overlooked the racist overtones that a comparison between blacks and monkeys carries, according to Flandersnews, the English-language arm of Flemish public broadcaster VRT.

“When you consider the fragment apart from its context, which is a properly worked out satirical section, then you don’t see the joke but just a picture evoking sheer racism,” the newspaper wrote in its statement, as quoted by Flandersnews. “That was a risk we didn’t consider enough beforehand.”

The New York Post similarly apologized for running a political cartoon that compared Obama to a chimpanzee in 2009, although it maintained the cartoon wasn’t intended to be racist. Flandersnews noted that De Morgen, a left-wing publication, had a solid anti-racist reputation in Belgium.

Obama is scheduled to meet with Belgian officials Wednesday in Brussels, according to the White House.

h/t Huffington Post

This post has been updated.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: