In an article published on May 2 that was just recently translated to English, Korean Central News Agency—the official propagandist news arm of the North Korean government—called Barack Obama a "monkey," among many other awful things.
The story has started to trickle up to mainstream outlets like the AP and the Washington Post, but it was first flagged by Josh Stanton, who runs the blog FreeKorea.us. He was emailed a translation of the article by Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor at Tufts. According to Lee's translation, this is how Obama was described in the North Korean paper of record:
Obama's gut-wrenching, revolting facial features
monkey climbing up this and that tree and scrounging up fruits on the ground
it's certain that Obama has slipped out of the body of a monkey
he should live as a monkey in an African natural zoo licking the breadcrumbs thrown by spectators
According to the AP—which has a deal with North Korea that allowed it to be the first Western news agency to place a bureau in the country—the racist remarks against Obama were attributed to at least one factory worker. According to a South Korean professor quoted by the AP, this is a typical tactic used by North Korea in order to keep an ostensible distance from language this offensive.
A U.S. state department spokesperson called the KCNA story "offensive and ridiculous and absurd." The news agency has a recent history of extreme racism, sexism and homophobia, having last month called South Korea's female president a "whore" and an openly gay chair of a U.N. inquiry into North Korean crimes against humanity a "disgusting old lecher with 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality."
[image of Kim Jong-un cut-out at South Korean protest via Getty]