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Bloggers mistakenly target Parkite

A Parkite was the talk of the liberal blogosphere Thursday when people mistakenly tied him to a Barack Obama toy that supporters of the candidate claim is racist.

TheSockObama doll portrays the Democratic presidential contender as a dark brown monkey with large ears and a tail. West Jordan resident David J. Lawson reportedly owns TheSockObama, LLC.

But Park City resident David J. Lawson said angry Obama fans wrongly criticized him Thursday when images of the doll sprung up on the Internet.

"Fairly early in the morning I got three or four e-mails that I thought were spam. I just deleted a few of them," Lawson said in a telephone interview Friday. "Then there was one that was highly offensive It was scary to not really know exactly what it was. Over the next hour or so, I got another half a dozen more."

Contact information for Lawson and his photograph were posted at the liberal dailykos.com.

"It is simply mistaken identity, and it is the scary thing about the Internet. Things can get blown up really, really fast," said Lawson, who quickly contacted his lawyer when the e-mails started to arrive.

In an e-mail to The Park Record, an Alabama woman said she was "shocked and saddened to see a vile, racist monkey doll in Senator Obama’s image."

"Portraying black people as apes and monkeys ties into a long, ugly heritage of using dehumanizing images to justify and prop up racism," the letter from Amy Dowdle states.

Her letter also erroneously claimed that Lawson in Park City created the doll and it listed his Web site. But Lawson agrees the doll is distasteful.

"I think it is offensive, there is no question about it," Lawson said.

An e-mail Lawson received Friday was reportedly penned by the owner of TheSockObama.

"We at TheSockObama Co. are saddened that some individuals have chosen to misinterpret our plush toy," the e-mail obtained by The Park Record states. "It is not, nor has it ever been our objective to hurt, dismay or anger anyone."

The doll was the product of "a casual and affectionate observation one night, and a charming association between a candidate and a toy we had when we were little," the e-mail states.

"This is only our introductory plush toy. If we choose to move forward with a Republican candidate, we’ll begin with an elongated and slightly lumpy, fuzzy Idaho potato," the e-mail from TheSockObama Co. states. "Had a different Democratic candidate won the nomination, we were prepared to move forward with the cutest, fluffiest chestnut and golden-haired squirrel, with a short Farrah-like do in a brown pantsuit and call her Squirellary."

The David Lawson in Park City said most of the people who criticized him sent apologies.

"Now it’s completely died down and I haven’t received anything," he said.

His Web site, davidjlawson.com, made the Parkite the target of angry bloggers, Lawson said.

"They linked the two and that’s how I think I got the stuff," Lawson said. "This is what can happen with the Internet. But it’s where we live and it’s the day and the age and we can’t really do anything about it."


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