The owner of the Georgia Tavern insists
that the shirts weren't meant to offend and has described them as "cute," but protesters disagreed, saying that it is a racist slam against Barack Obama.
Several people as well as community groups held protests outside of Mulligan's Bar and Grill on Tuesday. Those groups included, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Nation Of Islam, and the Cobb Immigrant Alliance.
Norman, who has been described as "ultra conservative" answers his critics with even more controversial statements, such as, "We're not living in the '40's. Look at him . . . the hairline, the ears — he looks just like Curious George."
Approximately a dozen protesters stood outside his tavern on Tuesday, one of which was Marietta native Pam Lindley, who joined the protest after reading about the controversy online and she says, "I don't want people to think this is what Marietta is all about. This is what some people think the South is still like. Marietta's come a long way but I guess it's still got a little ways to go."
Defenders of Norman assert Mulligan's is a refuge and Gene McKinley who is one of Mulligan's patrons says, "This place is a diamond in the rough. People here are genuine and honest. It's the one place I can go without having to worry if I'm offending someone."
Despite the protests, since this has now gotten national attention and media coverage, Norman says he has been fielding calls since the story broke with one man in New Jersey asking him to send him 100 T-shirts.
He said he noted physical similarities between the Democratic frontrunner and the cartoon monkey while watching a Curious George movie with his grandchildren.
He is now planning to use this as his marketing tool.
[Update] This has been picked up by CBS
, United Press International
, Boston Herald
and a number of other media