GOP representative defiant after sending chimp email
Stanley O. Williford | 4/20/2011, 5 p.m.
Just a week before President Barack Obama was set to arrive in Los Angeles, a member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee was adamantly determined to save her position after appending the president's face on a chimpanzee with the words, "Now you know why--No birth certificate!"
Marilyn Davenport sent the email containing the depiction, which included a chimpanzee mom and dad dressed as humans, with the picture of Obama superimposed over a smaller chimpanzee's face.
The president is due to speak at a fundraising event at Sony Pictures Studios at 4:30 p.m. today.
The outcry was immediate. First, from county GOP Chairman Scott Baugh, who called for the member of the party central committee to resign.
Baugh said he received the email Friday and immediately emailed Davenport, saying her note was "dripping with racism and is in very poor taste."
Alice Huffman, president of the California State NAACP, issued a statement calling Davenport "a racist, outrageous and disrespectful.
"There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this cartoon," she said in a statement. "It is absolutely and positively racist in nature.... History has shown that Blacks have been depicted in this fashion in the past to degrade African Americans as not human"
California Friends of the African American Caucus, a political action committee, released a statement saying, "We will not rest until Davenport [resigns]..."
Author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson on the New American Media website said the depiction of "President Obama and his family as monkeys was sick, vile, and disgusting."
For her part, Davenport apologized Friday as the email began to receive wide circulation, saying it was a "joke" and "much ado about nothing" and she insisted she was not a racist. In an email to the central committee, she wrote:
"I'm sorry if my email offended anyone, I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the quesions surrounding his origin of birth. In no way did I ever consider the fact he's half black when I sent out the email...."
In an interview with the OC Weekly on Monday, Davenport said: "I wasn't wise in sending the email out. I shouldn't have done it. I really wasn't thinking when I did it. I had poor judgment."
Meanwhile, Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E., announced plans for a coalition of activist groups to protest outside Davenport's home. "The most important thing is Saturday morning at 9 a.m. we'll be leaving from Leimert Park to protest outside her home, which is located in Fullerton," Ali said. "The protest begins at 11 a.m."
Ali said he will be joined by Rev. K.W. Tulloss, a local representative of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network; Melvin Snell, president of the L.A. Humanity Foundation; Paulette Gipson, president of the Compton NAACP branch, and others.