An official with Italy's Northern League party posted what appeared to be a photo of Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge on Facebook with a monkey's head.
The picture has been removed, The Local.it reported.
The photo was on the public profile of Fabio Rainieri, a former member of Parliament, who is currently regional secretary for the Northern League in Emilia, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported Thursday.
Rainieri told the newspaper there was nothing to suggest the picture was of Kyenge, and threatened a libel lawsuit.
He said he did not post it but he was the one who removed it.
"I took it down because I don't like this kind of thing," he said. "Cartoons are fine, but not this kind of thing."
Kyenge, an opthalmologist who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and entered Italy illegally in 1983, has been a target of numerous racist attacks in the Northern League since she was named to her present post in July. She has been likened to an orangutan, told she should be in the government of Egypt and even had bananas thrown at her during a public event.
One Northern League local official was expelled from the party after he suggested she should be raped. In August, Kyenge refused to attend a conference organized by the party because of the attacks.
Kyenge is the first black to serve in the Italian cabinet. She is married to an Italian and has two teenage daughters.