GEORGE ALLEN EMBROILED IN MONKEY CONTROVERSY
Former Virginia Senator George Allen is in trouble again, after a security camera inside a Dunkin’ Donuts store caught him saying to a friend, “India is full of unruly monkeys.”
Buddhadev “Buddy” Patel, owner of the store in Charlottesville, Va., said he had been reviewing the video on Nov. 20 to see if customers were taking too many napkins when he spotted Allen in the store. “I recognized him immediately – the man who called one of us a macaca,” said Patel, referring to the racial slur that derailed Allen’s bid for re-election in 2006. “The audio wasn’t clear, so I took it to one of my friends who is a lip reader. And sure enough, Allen was calling us unruly monkeys.”
Allen’s words sparked an uproar in the Indian-American community, as well as scattered protests in India. “How dare he call us monkeys?” Atlanta resident Rajan “Roger” Sankaraman said. “Monkeys don’t know how to program computers.”
Niraj Joshi, president of the National Federation of Indian-American Federations, demanded that Allen apologize on national TV. “We would call for his resignation,” Joshi said, “but he has nothing to resign from. Well, not much anyway.”
Allen spokeswoman Susan Brown said the Republican has no current plans to apologize. “If he had to apologize, he wouldn’t do it on national TV,” said Brown, who also serves as Allen’s wife. “He would apologize into the security camera at Dunkin’ Donuts.”
She said Allen was not referring to Indians, but to the actual monkeys that have been terrorizing people in Delhi and elsewhere. “George read an article about all the monkeys in India and was chatting with his friend about it. It was a private conversation and should not have been made public.”
But Brown’s explanation triggered even more protests in India, where Shiv Sena activists used a trained monkey to set fire to an effigy of Allen.
“Leave our monkeys alone, George Allen,” one man shouted. “Our monkeys are our business.”
Another man threatened to go on a hunger strike until Allen apologized. “You can call us monkeys if you want,” he said, “but please don’t say anything bad about our monkeys.”
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