After two days of protests, the New York Post apologized Thursday for a cartoon that critics said linked President Barack Obama to a raging chimpanzee Stamford police shot and killed this week after it mauled a woman. But the newspaper also said its longtime antagonists exploited the image for revenge.
The apology failed to appease at least some of the cartoon's critics, who said they might continue protesting Friday.
The paper posted an editorial on its Web site Thursday evening saying the cartoon was meant to mock the federal economic stimulus bill, but "to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."
The piece was posted hours after 200 picketers chanting "Boycott the Post! Shut it down!" marched in front of the paper's office, saying the cartoon echoed racist stereotypes of blacks as monkeys.
The editorial said that "most certainly was not its intent," adding that some media and public figures who have long-standing differences with the paper saw the cartoon "as an opportunity for payback." Calling them "opportunists," the editorial said: "To them, no apology is due."
Opponents are expected to picket Friday outside the paper, but they were discussing how to proceed.
The tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is known for its feisty attitude, provocative headlines and conservative outlook -- a mix that has garnered hundreds of thousands of readers, but also spurts of criticism over the years.
The newspaper had stood by the cartoon, which its editor called "a clear parody" about the death of Travis, the chimp police killed Monday after it mauled a friend of its Stamford owner.