From yesterday’s New York Times:
The film director Tim Burton yesterday apologized for the closing scene in his 2001 film Planet of the Apes, which imagines a future America in which the Lincoln Memorial statue is replaced with a statue of a warlike gorilla.
In a statement Burton said:
Given the controversy surrounding the recent New York Post cartoon, which featured a chimp that many people took to represent President Obama, I now realize that many Americans are likely to find the portrayal of an ape president offensive. Although it is no defense, I would point out that when I made the film few would have imagined that our country would elect a black president so soon afterwards. The scene was not intended to allude in any fashion to a future black president, and I deeply regret any offense I may have caused to African-Americans, and indeed to Americans in general.
The distributor of Planet of the Apes, 20th Century Fox, has announced that all DVD copies of the movie are being recalled from retailers and will be destroyed. A new ending is being shot, which does not feature the statue, for the DVD release of the film and for future TV broadcast.
After Burton made his statement, a support group for the parents of children born with bladed implements instead of hands demanded that Burton also apologize for his 1990 movie Edward Scissorhands.
As you probably guessed from that last line, I made the above story up. Think it’s far-fetched? Then check out this all-too-real editor’s note from Sunday’s Washington Post:
The headline, illustration and text of “Below the Beltway,” a column in The Washington Post Magazine today, may cause offense to readers. The magazine was printed before a widely publicized incident last week in which a chimpanzee attacked and badly mauled a woman in Stamford, Conn. In addition, the image and text inadvertently may conjure racial stereotypes that The Post does not countenance. We regret the lapse.
As Michelle Malkin explains, the potentially “offensive” cartoon was in fact perfectly innocent, and accompanied a column about a study which found that women were apparently turned on by images of apes mating. And the reference to the Connecticut attack is, of course, a red herring: the “note” would never have appeared had it not been for the hysteria over the New York Post cartoon, which was so infectious that the Washington Post felt compelled to apologize for its own cartoon before anyone realized they were offended.