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College paper apologizes for Haiti sex cartoon

The Independent Florida Alligator has issued an apology for running a cartoon depicting a man and woman having sex while texting their donation to the American Red Cross (link goes to the cartoon, NSFW).

When deciding to run that cartoon, we in no way wanted to make light of the situation that happened in Haiti.

Furthermore, we appreciate all of the fundraising efforts that have come from the Red Cross, UF organizations, the Salvation Army and any other person or group who has stepped up in this time of need.

We were simply trying to show how people have come together to help the Haitians in their time of need, as we do when we publish stories about the relief efforts of students â?? only with the cartoon, we were giving it a humorous spin. We understand that Haitians are dealing with a horrible tragedy, and we would never want to treat the situation insensitively. But despite the heartbreak, we see beauty in the way the world is coming together to help Haitians. Our cartoon was simply an acknowledgment of the fact that people are joining together to get behind a cause.

Compared to the apology issued by the The Notre Dame Observer for the anti-gay cartoon – which resulted in the assistant editor resigning, this apology is lame and a bit shocking that the cartoon even ran in the first place.

Community Comments

#1 Howard Tayler
January/28/2010
@ 10:35 am

I get what they were trying to say with that cartoon. As the article understated, “the execution fell a little flat.”

I guess it just goes to show that you can’t have free speech without also having the freedom to eat your shoe, and then maybe some crow.

#2 Mike Cope
January/28/2010
@ 10:55 am

Just think … One day, these college newspaper editors will potentially be editing local, national, and international newspapers.

#3 Jesse Cline
January/28/2010
@ 11:11 am

The cartoon is stupid, but not even in the same ballpark as the Notre Dame one in terms of poor taste or offensiveness. Why would you expect an apology or repercussions of the same magnitude? Much ado about nothing.

#4 stephan pastis
January/28/2010
@ 12:33 pm

Do college papers just print anything someone draws? Is there no “lame” threshold?

#5 Pat Bagley
January/28/2010
@ 1:07 pm

Definition of a college-age male: hard on with a haircut.

#6 Scott Metzger
January/28/2010
@ 1:57 pm

Back in the early â??90s, I tried to get a comic strip into the UC Davis campus newspaper and was immediately rejected. I hope they had a “lame” threshold back then. Otherwise, my stuff mustâ??ve REALLY sucked.

#7 Stacy Curtis
January/28/2010
@ 2:14 pm

I don’t like the use of “we” in their apology. It seems like the editorial board came up with the idea of this cartoon and had their cartoonist draw it. I hope that’s not what’s happening at that newspaper. Otherwise, they now have TWO lessons to learn.

Any cartoonist who can draw two people having sex and get it into the newspaper deserves a medal.

#8 Mike Cope
January/28/2010
@ 2:29 pm

“Any cartoonist who can draw two people having sex and get it into the newspaper deserves a medal.”

@Stacy … Does it have to be people? I mean, that sounds like a fun challenge for Mr. Pastis :)

#9 Dan Reynolds
January/28/2010
@ 2:32 pm

In their defense, no one ever accused college students like these of having any brains.

Oh, and this cartoon has little to do with free speech. It has more to do with being an idiot.

#10 Woodrow Barlettani
January/28/2010
@ 2:39 pm

….. Poorly drawn, poorly thought-out, amateurish… unworthy of any given a thought …

#11 John Kovalic
January/28/2010
@ 2:49 pm

College newspapers are where you go to make your mistakes. Pick up stuff, yes, but also make mistakes.

Hopefully, contributors then LEARN from these mistakes.

Much like college itself, really.

#12 Pat Bagley
January/28/2010
@ 2:50 pm

Whoa! The cartoonist is a chick!

Didn’t know many like that back at BYU.

#13 Jim
January/28/2010
@ 3:30 pm

I’m not sure if they should apologize for the insensitivity or the terrible comic… Personally I was offended that I wasted my time thinking it would be a funny comic…

#14 Garey Mckee
January/28/2010
@ 6:50 pm

Gosh do you think they eat off that table too?

#15 Shane Davis
January/28/2010
@ 6:54 pm

“Do college papers just print anything someone draws? Is there no â??lameâ? threshold?”

Well, Stephan, no. At least not at the University of Texas. I pick up their student paper ‘The Daily Texan’ and the ‘toons are usually…well, unbearable.

Now, UT is a huge school and if any college should be able to scrape up 7 or 8 decent strips, it oughta be UT. But they are usually on par with what 14 year old boys would draw on a bathroom wall in a Denny’s.

Aside from Berkely Breathed and Shannon Wheeler being two exceptions I can think of, mostly they just stink there.

On the other hand, ‘lame thresholds’ would put a lot of professional, syndicated strips out of business, too.

So as Gilda Radner said…

Nevermind…

#16 Tom Wood
January/28/2010
@ 7:51 pm

It’s part of an ongoing series called ‘sextoons’.

It wasn’t the cartoon itself that has people upset, it’s the inclusion of the Haitian tragedy in a non-editorial cartoon.

Although, you could count the ‘people coming together’ part as an editorial comment…

#17 Stephen Beals
January/28/2010
@ 10:46 pm

In a world where Michael Bay is an ultra-successful director, Danielle Steele is a top ten author and laugh tracks still flourish on TV, comics that get attention are not the brilliant ones you can find all over the place, but ones drawn by college kids who decided to mix cold medicines with MD 20/20.

I see.

It’s a funny life, but not “ha ha” funny.

#18 Mike Peterson
January/29/2010
@ 6:04 am

If it’s part of an ongoing series, we’d have to see some other samples before we stormed the campus with our pitchforks, torches and nooses …

Turns out they have an ongoing sex feature
http://www.alligator.org/the_avenue/sex/

And the sextoons cartoon seems to consist of two people having sex while wearing Snuggies, while dropping and adding courses over the Internet, etc. So two people having sex while texting aid to Haiti is well within the normal bounds of this feature.

At least to the extent that any cartoonist who added a “please help Haiti” to their own normal output can’t fault this cartoonist for her own effort in that regard.

They shouldn’t have apologized at all. If I were drawing that feature, I’d feel they threw me under the bus.

#19 Stephen Beals
January/29/2010
@ 11:31 am

Ah. So it’s like “Love Is” only they’re all grown up. And they’re having sex. While performing routine chores.

Higher education is such a noble pursuit.

#20 Clay Jones
January/29/2010
@ 2:34 pm

Funny that a link to a college newspaper is NSFW.
I wouldn’t get upset because it looks like, from the position, they’re only simulating having sex and not actually doing it.

#21 Rich Diesslin
January/31/2010
@ 1:20 am

@Dan #9 – too funny!

It would have been way funnier if they were paying their taxes … or maybe not. Does this give new meaning to the joy of giving? Does this count as sexting?

Oh, yeah, for the record I’m appalled and offended (it’s fashionable … but really it goes into the ‘who really cares’ file other than the insensitivity to the disaster aspect of it) … how could 5th graders get a gig at a college newspaper … wait til their (her) parents find out. ;)

Oh well, back to the real world …

#22 Milt Priggee
January/31/2010
@ 4:54 pm

Their only mistake was apologizing for something that did not warrant any apologizing.

They only embarrassed themselves and at the same time educated their journalists to be to second guess intentional misinterpretations.

Sad….

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