Marrietta, Mulligan's Bar Owner selling racist T-shirts

Marrietta, Mulligan's Bar Owner selling T-shirts depicting Barack Obama as a Monkey. Racist or Not?

Word has it that the he publishing company that owns the Curious George image says it is considering legal action to stop the sale of a T-shirt depicting Barack Obama as the monkey from children's books. The T-shirts are being peddled by Marietta bar owner Mike Norman at his Mulligan's Bar and Grill in Cobb County. They show a picture of Curious Georgie peeling a banana, with the words "Obama '08" underneath. Rick Blake, a spokesman for publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which owns Curious George, said Wednesday that the company didn't authorize the use of the character's image, but hasn't been in touch with anybody selling or manufacturing the shirts. "We find it offensive and obviously utterly out of keeping with the value Curious George represents," Blake said. "We're monitoring the situation and weighing our options with respect to legal action." Norman has said he got the T-shirts from someone in Arkansas. He started selling them at his bar -- known for the provocative, ultra-conservative political slogans often posted on signs out front -- in April but said he has no plans to mass market them. The sales came to light this week when a loose coalition of local groups called a protest of the T-shirts. About a dozen protestors rallied against the shirts Tuesday afternoon, condemning them as racist and asking Norman to stop selling them. Norman acknowledged the imagery's Jim Crow roots but said he sees nothing wrong with depicting a prominent African-American as a monkey. "We're not living in the (19)40's," he said. "Look at him . . . the hairline, the ears -- he looks just like Curious George." Marietta native Pam Lindley, 47, joined Tuesday's protest after reading about the controversy. "I don't want people to think this is what Marietta is all about," she added, motioning towards the tavern. "This is what some people think the South is still like. Marietta's come a long way but I guess it's still got a little ways to go." She said she'd like to see the city ban Norman's provocative musings regularly posted on a sign out front of the bar, which is near Marietta's downtown square. Those who gathered Tuesday say they will continue their campaign against Norman's "hate speech." But his defenders are just as resolute. Mulligan's is a refuge, they say, in an otherwise hypersensitive world. Smoking isn't only allowed at the bar, it's expected.

It;s amazing how one little monkey can stir up so much controversy. Now I've been hearing about this on the news lately and my intital thoughts were"no Big deal" but after hearing Atlantas, Mulligan Bar owner. Mike Norman say that "the ears as well as the forehead resembles Barack Obama" his intentions became quite clear, Not to mention his message to George Bush and "illegals" that graces his store front marquee. So yes people, Racism is alive and well in the Good Old US of A.

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