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Southern Poverty Law Center apologizes for posting plagiarized Englehart cartoon

The Southern Poverty Law Center has issued an apology to Hartford Courant editorial cartoonist Bob Englehart for reposting a plagiarized cartoon that they found on Twitter. Bob’s original cartoon (below) was drawn in reaction to calls to remove the Confederate Flag.

Below is the cartoon someone swiped and heavily altered including removing his signature and posted on Twitter where SPLC found it.

Unlike other cases of plagiarism that have been in the news lately, I’m going to chalk SPLC’s actions up to exuberance overwhelming common sense, but it also serves as a warning that not all cartoons and memes on the internet are original.

On Friday, we posted a cartoon that seemed to perfectly encapsulate a tremendously emotional week. Five panels depicting the Confederate battle flag going down a flag pole, representing the political conversation following the horrific events in Charleston, South Carolina, and a rainbow (LGBT pride) flag going up in its place, representing the Supreme Court?s decision to make marriage equality the law of the land.

And did it resonate. At this moment, the post has nearly 260,000 Likes and over 190,000 shares.

The problem? Well, we got the credit wrong. And the cartoon was modified from its original form.

On Sunday we learned that the first three panels of the Confederate flag going down was the work of Hartford Courant editorial cartoonist Bob Englehart, who originally posted it on June 22nd (see here: http://sp.lc/OXaHP).

Someone had added the last two panels of the rainbow flag being raised. In doing so, they removed the original caption ?Going…going…gone? and, even worse, deleted Mr. Engelhart?s signature, which also included the date and the Hartford Courant copyright.

We screwed up. We found the image on Twitter and credited the editorial cartoon syndicate Cagle Cartoons, which appeared in the doctored cartoon.

Thankfully for us, an editor at the Hartford Courant generously asked that we only correct the record here, which we were eager to do.

In sum: We apologize to Mr. Englehart and his colleagues at the Hartford Courant. Everyone here who liked that post should go over and check out his work. If that cartoon resonated, you?ll be pleased to know Mr. Englehart publishes multiple times a week.

Community Comments

#1 Bearman
July/7/2015
@ 6:49 pm

So when does Cagle apologize?

#2 Dave Stephens
July/9/2015
@ 3:13 am

Is Cagle to blame? Credit to Cagle could be just as false and altered as the comic…

#3 Brian Fairrington
July/9/2015
@ 6:35 pm

Did you guys misread the story? Cagle had nothing to do with it. It was Cagle who called the SPLC out for running altered copyrighted material without permission from the artist Bob Englehart. Cagle alerted Bob about the cartoon (which was changed anonymously) and Bob and his paper requested it be taken down from the SPLC’s website.

#4 Tom Falco
July/13/2015
@ 7:14 am

The ironic thing, is i must have seen the knock-off version 100 times or more, all over social media, and this is the first time I am seeing the original.

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