Whole Foods' Chicken Ad Featuring Obama Outrages Neighbors

The supermarket took down the sign after shoppers complained it was offensive

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Thursday, Feb 21, 2013  |  Updated 9:07 AM PDT
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Some Whole Foods customers are complaining about a sign featuring the president that advertises a sale on chicken.  Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

NBC 4 New York

Some Whole Foods customers are complaining about a sign featuring the president that advertises a sale on chicken. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

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A Whole Foods supermarket in New York has removed a sign that used a drawing of President Barack Obama to advertise a sale on chicken after complaints that the ad was offensive.

The sign outside the supermarket on Manhattan's Upper West Side, featuring an apparent caricature of Obama advertising an upcoming sale on whole organic chickens, outraged neighbor Woody Henderson.

"There are certain things that have been used to put down black people — watermelon, fried chicken," he said. 

Jason Nunez of the Bronx said, "Even if he's not the president, you're going to have an African-American promoting the sale of chicken? They can do better than that." 

Residents and passersby agreed the man in the sign looked like Obama, but not all thought it was derogatory.

"Obviously it looks like the president, but I don't think it's racist," said Joseph Joshua.

A spokesman for Whole Foods said store artists create a variety of pop culture imagery to promote sales and events. The sign advertising the chicken was put up earlier in the week but taken down "once it was brought to our attention by a shopper that it may be perceived as offensive," said the spokesman. 

"There was no disrespect meant at all," the spokesman said.

Henderson thinks the chain should take more responsibility. Another neighbor, Jeffrey Schaper, said, "I don't think you can find a more pro-Democratic neighborhood. They're sort of shooting themselves in the foot. It is pretty outrageous."

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