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John Legend’s Letter to the New York Post









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Open Letter to the New York Post

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 connectible 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

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,20and 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

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1 Comment on "John Legend’s Letter to the New York Post"

  1. Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator – not so simple

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