Obama Monkey T-Shirts A Hot Georgia ItemMay 16th, 2008
But a major publisher threatens to sue the Atlanta-area bar that’s raking in cash
Scores of people have been protesting the sale of T-shirts, featuring the cartoon monkey Curious George eating a banana with the words “Obama ’08,” at a Georgia pub. But now the bar owner, Mike Norman is facing some new problems as the publishing company that owns the Curious George image is threatening to sue him. “We find it offensive and obviously utterly out of keeping with the value Curious George represents,” said Rick Blake, a spokesman for publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “We’re monitoring the situation and weighing our options with respect to legal action.” Curious George, a popular character in children’s books for many years who now has his own television cartoon series. Blake said that he has not been in contact with Norman or anyone else selling the shirts, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Norman, who owns Mulligan’s Bar and Grill in Cobb County, told the newspaper that he got the T-shirts from someone in Arkansas. His establishment is known for the controversial, ultra-conservative political slogans it plasters out front. This week the number of people protesting the shirts, which they call racist, began to swell. Norman told the Journal-Constitution that while he recognizes the racist roots of the imagery, he has every right to portray Obama as a monkey if he likes. “We’re not living in the (19)40’s,” he said. “Look at him . . . the hairline, the ears — he looks just like Curious George.” One guy called him up and ordered a hundred shirts, said Norman, 63. Should the bar be forced to stop selling the shirts? Watch the video here.