Barnes and Noble: Obama-Monkey Display Was a ‘Hate Crime’

Barnes and Noble is repudiating recent photos showing a monkey book within one of its stores’ presidential displays. The book chain says the incident was the result of “a malicious act.”

Barnes and Noble Obama Display

The Barnes and Noble Obama Display

The photo (above), which has circulated widely over the Internet, shows the animal book in the middle of a Barnes and Noble window display focused on books related to Barack Obama. The misplaced book is entitled Monkeys: A Captivating Look at These Fascinating Animals.

Barnes and Noble says a customer placed the book in the display at its Coral Gables, Florida location, then snapped the photo. The company says its associates removed the book as soon as it was noticed, insisting claims that Barnes and Noble had intentionally positioned the book within the display are completely false.


“This malicious and despicable act is nothing short of a hate crime, which should be punishable under federal statutes,” Leonard Riggio, founder and chairman of Barnes and Noble, said in a statement.

Barnes and Noble E-Book Acquisition

The news comes right as Barnes and Noble is announcing new steps in its move into the e-book market. The company acquired Fictionwise for $15.7 million late last week. It intends to launch a Barnes and Noble e-bookstore later in 2009 but has indicated it will keep Fictionwise as a separate business unit, with its current team remaining in charge.