With an image reminiscent of the classic film “Planet of the Apes,” a Belgian newspaper is accused of racism for printing a doctored photo putting monkey-like faces on President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
The article, which ostensibly makes fun of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has a second photo of the American leader with a caption reading, “First black president of the USA starts selling weed.”
De Morgan, the progressive newspaper in Belgium which printed the picture as a joke under Putin’s byline, has already apologized by saying it was in “bad taste,” adding it was merely attempting to spoof Putin and the public fight between the two world leaders.
“So this is what they tried to convey that Putin thinks of Obama, not them at the newspaper. But they still did it!” exclaimed American radio giant Rush Limbaugh on his Wednesday broadcast. “They still did the Photoshop and they still published it, in sophisticated Europe. Belgium, headquarters [of] NATO.”
“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 said. “We wrongly assumed that racism is no longer accepted, and that in this way it could be the subject of a joke.”
One reader at Reddit.com defended the monkey picture, saying, “It was a joke.”
Another noted: “There are [also] tons upon tons of pictures and t-shirts with [President George W.] Bush drawn as an ape.”
Over the weekend, former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he thinks “a trained ape” would have better foreign-policy skills than Barack Obama.
He was blasting the president’s dealings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as Rumsfeld defended the Afghans for supporting Putin.
Rumsfeld specified the Obama administration’s failure to secure a status of forces agreement (SOFA) with Afghanistan.
“A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It doesn’t take a genius,” Rumsfeld told Fox News.