See All Topics

Home / Section: Controversies

Crumb explains why he canceled trip to Australia

Robert Crumb was the headlining artist at the Australian Graphic arts festival in Sydney, but cancelled after a newspaper ran a headline that read, “Cult genius or filthy weirdo” and quoted anti-child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnsto who raised questions about the appropriateness of Crumb’s attendance.

In an open letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Crumb explains why he ultimately decided not to attend.

While I was agonising over whether to go to Australia or not, I tried to imagine how I would react if confronted with a group of angry anti-Crumb protesters, or an angry individual.
I have no defence. I can’t explain why I drew all those crazy pictures. I had to do it. Maybe I should have my pencils and pens taken away from me. I don’t know. I really have no answer to their argument that I’m a sick, deranged person.
What should I say? No, I’m not? No idea. But I decided I was willing to face the possibility of an unpleasant confrontation, possible insults, even physical assault. I’m rather fatalistic that way. But I couldn’t do that to Aline. I had to put her feelings in front of those of the organisers of the festival and Australian fans of my work.

Community Comments

#1 Jason Chatfield
August/15/2011
@ 6:26 pm

Very disappointing, as a result of some very poor journalism from the Sunday Telegraph. The fans are livid.

#2 Jules Faber
August/15/2011
@ 7:14 pm

Please note that most Australian newspaper content, if not all, was excited to see Crumb coming and promoted it accordingly. It was one singularly slack-jawed attempt at journalism that unfortunately Mr Crumb saw and which, as a consequence, changed his mind.

His legion of fans here are aghast, as Jason has noted above. It’s sad that a country as great as Australia appears, internationally, to still be mired in the bad old days of fear and repression.

This kind of journalism is tantamount to a shock jock spouting vitriole for the sake of gaining web hits or shilling their fishwrap. It’s a disgrace.

#3 Nik Scott
August/15/2011
@ 9:15 pm

It’s a rotten crying shame. It was such a thrill to see that R.Crumb was finally coming to Australia and a huge disappointment to discover that he wasn’t. Whoever engineered the newspaper’s nasty little story deserves a robust downswing in good karma.

I’m sorry that R.Crumb had to be subjected to this nonsense. It reflects badly on Australia, which is actually quite a nice place.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.