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Now is the Winter of Apologies

Apologies from cartoonists are coming so fast they’re stumbling over each other.

 

After already issuing a statement apologizing for a rude suggestion aimed at President Trump, papers, this past week, began receiving “a hard-copy letter of apology” from cartoonist Wiley Miller:

“Dear Editors,

“I greatly appreciate your allowing me the opportunity to explain and apologize for the ‘Da Vinci strip that ran in Non Sequitur on Sunday, February 10th.

“I drew the strip Christmas week. Because the strips are intricately drawn, I work seven days a week. That day, I took time to visit with our kids and grandson; it got late. I wanted to ink the Da Vinci Sunday so I could upload it the next morning. I was watching a late-night cable news station as I sat inking; a featured story got my ire up. I scribbled the epithet without thinking, intending, however, to white it out the next morning. I finished inking another strip, shut off the lights, and went to bed.

“The next morning, in the hubbub of children’s visit, the correction was forgotten — a mistake, I’m devastated to say, I compounded six weeks later when the strip ran, and the oversight was pointed out by readers. My first thought was horror, and not apologizing immediately became my second mistake. Support for the epithet began rolling in; a way out suddenly appeared. In a tweet, I hinted that my oversight was intentional, an ‘Easter egg,’ a new misjudgment of shameful proportions — the dumbest and most dumbfounding thing I’ve done in my sixty-seven years on this planet.

“Remorse is an understatement. I’m gutted by my own poor judgment.

“Non Sequitur has been my pride and joy, as well as livelihood, in a cartooning career that has spanned forty-two years. The strip has been in print twenty-seven years, and garnered many awards. During that time, I’ve drawn just shy of 10,000 strips, and not a single one contained such a vulgar, foolish, unprofessional ‘venting.’

“I apologize to you, my editors, for breaking trust with you, whom I owe a great debt for the many years you’ve run the strip. I’d also like to assure you that no such breach will ever happen again. I intend to work hard at regaining your trust.

“Sincerely, Wiley Miller”

The San Diego Union-Tribune and the Daily Camera are among the papers printing the letter.

By the way, comic strip and editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis addressed the Non Sequitur issue on the last half of his February 25 podcast. Assigning blame for the incident he, naturally, named Wiley; but also he calls out newspaper editors who have ignored that part of their job description when it comes to syndicated content.

 

And in the news again is another cartoon, featuring former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould, resulting in an apology.

You may remember that a couple weeks ago some people were upset with the way Jody Wilson-Raybould was depicted. Her portrayal is again the issue.

 

The cartoon depicts Wilson-Raybould in what appears to be incorrect, stereotypical indigenous clothing. According to one commenter, the tomahawk and feathers that she sports in the cartoon are not at all associated with the Kwakwaka’wakw people of which Wilson-Raybould is part.

In fact, Wilson-Raybould rarely sports traditional clothing at all.

Cartoonist Yannick Lemay reacted to the outcry:

Lemay, in an email to APTN News says he was, “surprised at the reaction to this caricature. The job of a caricaturist is to exaggerate situations. Since we do no use words, we use visual codes to represent concepts,” he said.

“Ms. Wilson-Raybould is a great representative of the aboriginal community who proudly defends herself, so I wanted to build her up. I wanted this drawing simple and without malice.”

On twitter, people referred to the cartoon as deeply offensive, stereotypical, racist, disgusting and despicable.

Lemay said in the email, “I realize today that I used bad visual codes to elevate her Aboriginal ancestry.

“I draw a great lesson.”

Also:

Lemay said he’s drawing lessons from the backlash, which was published Thursday online and in print. There are “more and more subjects” for which cartoonists need to be prudent about, he said.

“I’m sorry if I offended certain people.”

The story, with many more reactions to the cartoon,
can be read at MTL Blog, APTN News, and HuffPostCanada.

 

 

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Ignatz
March/3/2019
@ 6:40 am

I think it’s ridiculous. You don’t even see it unless it’s pointed out to you. I’ve blown it up, and I can’t even make out the “F.” As far as I can tell, it says “402UCK YOUR4SRL nn=TRUMP.” I fail to see how this is different than presenting a vulgarity with letters X’d out.

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