A senior US judge has apologized after sending an email containing a racist joke about President Barack Obama that equated African Americans with dogs, a newspaper reported.
Richard Cebull, chief US district judge in the state of Montana, said he sent the email to a small group of friends because he is opposed to Obama. He acknowledged it was racist, but denied being racist himself.
"Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this," said the email containing the offensive joke.
Cebull, who was nominated by former president George W. Bush and has served as chief judge for the District of Montana since 2008, sent the message from his court email address on February 20, the Great Falls Tribune reported.
The judge admitted that he sent the email to six "old buddies," the paper reported.
"It was not intended by me in any way to become public," Cebull said. "I apologize to anybody who is offended by it, and I can obviously understand why people would be offended."
"The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan," he added. "I didn't send it as racist, although that's what it is. I sent it out because it's anti-Obama."
But "we have a hard time believing that a legitimate criticism of the president involves distributing a joke that basically compares African Americans with animals," he added.
Cebull insisted he was not racist, and did not show prejudice in court.
"I have never considered myself that way," he said. "All I can emphasize is I've treated people in my courtroom all these years fairly. I don't think I've ever demonstrated racism. Nobody has ever even implied it."
Source: AFP American Edition