Restaurant Owner Drawing Heat for Obama T-Shirt

Some are calling the "Curious George" t-shirts depicting Senator Obama racist.
Some are calling the "Curious George" t-shirts depicting Senator Obama racist.

A Georgia restaurant with a history of raising eyebrows is at it again.

The owner of Mulligan's Bar and Grill in Marietta is accused of waging a campaign of racism against Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama.

The controversy is about a t-shirt for sale that compares Obama to cartoon character Curious George.

Protesters on Tuesday said Norman has gone too far this time.

After marching out front, protesters confronted Norman and asked him to stop selling his t-shirts.

Norman said he is surprised the shirts have drawn so much attention, since he said he finds nothing wrong with using the image of Curious George.

"I saw the cartoon on TV, and I looked, and this was the ears and the hairline, and the big smile, and Obama has all three," Norman said.

But the comparison was so offensive to several civil rights leaders that they organized a protest.

"A monkey eating a banana, that's a historical stereotype of how African Americans have been depicted on a number of occasions," said Reverend Dwight Graves.

Norman's customers came to his defense.

They are used to seeing provocative messages on the sign out front, some of which target illegal immigrants.

"We don't need these things to happen any more," said Adelina Nicholls of the Latino Alliance for Human Rights. "Not with Latinos, not with African Americans, not with any kind of immigrants."

"There is a contingent of folks, red, yellow, white and black, that walk around wanting a reason to be mad, to get their feelings hurt," Norman said. "If I did that, I'm sorry."

Norman said he has sold out of his stack of 50 t-shirts.

He was planning to donate the money from the shirts to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but MDA officials said they do not want Norman's money.

They said that their attorneys were drawing up a letter asking him to stop using the name of the MDA in connection with sales of the shirts.