Likening black people to chimps in any way shape or form gets almost everyone banished from polite society these days.
But animal rights lawyer Steven Wise reportedly offered that analogy when he asked a Manhattan judge to release two simians from a Long Island university laboratory, saying they should get freedom just like black slaves eventually did.
Asked if he was guilty of a micro-aggression, Wise went bananas.
“The Daily Caller has stood out as providing the most consistently hostile media coverage of any media outlet in the world, time after time,” he emailed on Sunday. “Nobody thinks we are comparing chimpanzees to blacks and you know we are not.”
Wise last week asked New York State Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe to issue a writ of habeas corpus to spring Hercules and Leo from their SUNY-Stony Brook confines.
“We argue that both as a matter of liberty and as a matter of equality, Hercules and Leo are indeed legal persons,” he contended May 27 at a lower Manhattan court hearing packed with some 100 animal rights activists. “We had a history of that, for hundreds of years, saying black people are not part of society and you can enslave them. That wasn’t right. It didn’t work.”
Assistant New York State Attorney General Christopher Coulston, representing SUNY, argued that “there’s simply no precedent anywhere of an animal getting the same rights as a human.”
At a press conference outside the courthouse, Wise doubled down on his slavery analogy.
“Chimpanzees are extraordinarily complicated,” he argued. “It is a violation of the fundamental principles of liberty and equality for us to treat them like slaves.”
Wise, the top banana of the Nonhuman Rights Project, wants Hercules and Leo released to a chimp sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Wise first declined an interview request.
But after some prodding he told TheDC that that grouping chimps with black slaves was only a legal analogy: slaves started off as “things” with no rights but eventually got them through court decisions.
Chimps should accrue personhood rights the same way, he argued. “The only reason we talked about blacks” is that they moved “from being a thing to being a person.”
He deemed the comparison of Simian-Americans to African-Americans “historically one of the most noxious and insulting of racist statements that can be made.”
Another question that got Wise more agitated than a chimp in heat: If Hercules and Leo are gay, should they get the federal right to marry?
“To suggest that the NhRP thinks about, will think about, has discussed, or will ever discuss, whether nonhuman animals could marry is as absurd and ridiculous,” Wise said.