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MacKinnon cartoon used to make Obama racial slurs

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald editorial cartoonist, Bruce MacKinnon, published a cartoon back in January depicting presidential hopeful Barack Obama in front of a sign that reads “White House” and thinking, “Well first off, that sign’s gonna have to go.” Now the cartoon is being “hijacked” – used and modified by others to make racial slurs against Obama.

Now, he says he’s concerned about the way it’s being used to promote hatred on the Internet, where the altered copies are circulating widely.

“I hope this clears the air a bit, but I think I could spend the rest of the year clearing the air,” he said.

Chronicle-Herald editor Jim Meek said the paper’s not interested in pursuing legal action against anyone who’s used an altered version of the cartoon.

“How would you do that? Who would you go after?” he said, adding that many newspapers and media outlets don’t have the financial strength to pursue cross-border lawsuits to protect their intellectual property rights.

Meek called the hijacked versions of the cartoon outrageous.

Community Comments

#1 Malc McGookin
July/8/2008
@ 6:47 am

Is anyone surprised, I mean really?
Obama’s run for the top job will be beset by the race issue, and the GOP will constantly bemoan the actions of their own redneck supporters.
These actions allow the republican mainstream to denounce racism whilst simultaneously laughing behind their hands.

I find it impossible (in the present US system) to conceive of a truly independent candidate, someone ready to affect REAL change, making it to the White House. Obama is no different from any of the mainstream candidates, just as Bill Clinton wasn’t. Obama will be at great pains to prove that if he achieves the Presidency he’ll be no threat to anyone!

#2 Norm Feuti
July/8/2008
@ 7:36 am

It’s unfortunate, but nothing new.

I’m sure Watterson felt the same way when hacks drew calvin urinating on a Ford logo. Infuriating, but what can you do … other than denounce it and move on?

The internet (and computer technology in general) has certainly made this kind of piracy easier and more prolific, but the lack of recourse hasn’t really changed.

Once your stuff is out there it’s vulnerable.

#3 Beth Cravens
July/8/2008
@ 9:26 am

This campaign has been so dominated by non issues that no amount of clearing the air will make a difference. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it goes.

#4 J.G. Moore
July/8/2008
@ 10:01 am

Fear is a trrible thing. That’s what is driving most of the anti Obama “stuff” Obama is like Reagan, he’s teflon. None of the GOP attacks are sticking. Obama has also used technology to counter the whole political $ystem.

The only thing the GOP has is fear. The GOP did the same thing in 2004. The used OBL and swift boating to defeat Kerry. This time they can’t do the whole “swiftboat” thing because that trick has been used and Obama is “hip” to it.

The GOP tries to “blacken” Obama but it’s hard for them to do becasue, hell Obama’s mama is white! He’s half white so that tatic is not effective. He may “look” black but he is 50% white.
He black AND white.

The GOP is perplexed on how to “blacken” Obama becuse they can’t. It also shows how the GOP is just dumb. They really need to stick with issues only. A fair fight is the only way the GOP can win, the problem is the GOP can’t fight a fair fight.

The GOP is going “old skool”. They are going with something that has worked in the past. The GOP is going to “go with what they know”; FEAR!

The GOP is going to play on white peoples fear of black people. We’ll see if it works for the GOP.

Its really sad the the GOP is taking someones work out of context. I feel bad for Bruce’s work being hijacked. His newspaper needs to go after everyone who hijacked his work and $ue them. That would be good publicity for the cartoonist AND the publication.

That way the next time anyone even thinks about doing this they will remember that they can get sued by the publication that originally ran the cartoon.

#5 Howard Tayler
July/8/2008
@ 10:17 am

Lawsuits typically aren’t good publicity for the plaintiffs.

A better approach would be the one taken: a news piece that re-runs the original work, decries the bastardizations, and opines on the issue originally addressed.

I see this to be playing out the best way it possibly could. Nothing needs to be fixed.

#6 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
July/8/2008
@ 12:44 pm

I have had stuff hijacked by extremist blogs and other cyber thieves. Agreed, not much one can do when product is out there, unless someone is profiting from unlicensed reproduction. Anonymous blogs and message boards are tough to police. We can complain, but anyone that would steal in the first place has no morals anyway. My solace is that they are typically marginal, and quite easy to ignore.
How I combat it is making my stuff available with proper attribution with groups and individuals opposing the lunatic fringe.

This also illustrates the tactics and motives of the right wad racists. We know what political party welcomes these lowlifes with open arms!

#7 Garey Mckee
July/8/2008
@ 2:15 pm

One could argue the original cartoon in it’s unaltered form to be racist as well. The fact that it was lifted and used for extremist agenda shouldn’t really come as a suprise. That’s the risk of putting your work out there. I have to agree with Malc, it’s unfortunate and it’s wrong but it certainly isn’t suprising.

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