A sock monkey made to look like Barack Obama and wearing a suit with the senator’s campaign lapel pin has been pulled from production after angry critics accused the company of marketing a racist toy.
Jeanetta Williams, president of a Utah chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the monkey was “pure racism at its extreme,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Black Democrat Charles Henderson, currently running for the House of Representatives, expressed outrage at the company’s decision to market the sock monkey as well.
“[The toy] blows me away,” he said. “Here we are in 2008 and some people still haven’t gotten it.”
Binkley Toy’s owner Rob Bishop said he did not consider the doll to be racist. He apologized to people who took offense in a public statement.
“Binkley Toys Inc. will not be proceeding with manufacturing the Sock Obama toy. My company is not just about ‘dollars’ and Binkley Toys Inc. prides itself on its social responsibility,” he said. “Through the past couple of days, I was hoping to find the ‘mistake’ my company made and I believe the only mistake would have been to keep going. There was no ill will or negative intent in helping to design this toy.”
The company owner expressed regret for its decision to produce the Obama monkey.
“I personally apologize to anyone who found this toy idea offensive and I am sorry I did not make the negative connection myself,” Bishop said.
The Sock Obama, has issued a public statement as well.
“We are very apologetic to all who were upset by our toy idea,” the website said. “We will not be proceeding with the manufacturing of this toy.”