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Lalo Alcaraz threatened over Murrieta Hate city cartoon

Editorial cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz has branded Murrieta, CA as “Hate City” which hasn’t sat well with the city’s crisis manager Xavier Hermosillo who took to Lalo’s Instagram to write:

“Lalo, There IS a fine line between your Constitutional right to draw cartoons and expressed [sic] your opinions, and falsely, deliberately, and maliciously labeling and attacking an entire community as racist or as ‘Hate City.’ You are working overtime to damage Murrieta and such a false premise is actionable. There’s a fine line between humor and stupidity. You may have crossed that line at your own peril.”

Lalo posted yesterday on his Facebook page that the city is threatening “some sort of legal action” for this cartoon.

While any legal challenge against a cartoonist wouldn’t even make it to a judge on free speech grounds, I’m failing to see the actual legal threat in Hermosillo’s comments – unless there’s been other communication that Lalo hasn’t produced. Until then this looks like a good ol’ fashion Internet pissing match.

Community Comments

#1 Darrin Bell
July/17/2014
@ 9:17 am

Saying Lalo’s cartoons are “actionable” is the threat.

#2 JLG
July/17/2014
@ 9:07 pm

I like to give the benefit of the doubt and I try hard not to rush to judgment most of the time. Which is why it means a lot for me to unequivocally say that these people are disgusting, cowardly pigs. Such big tough guys, picking on vulnerable kids, calling them horrible names and saying all kinds of awful things about them. What a miserable collection of cowardly maggots. I don’t care what your position on immigration policy is—–if you talk that way about ANY children, let alone what those children have been through, you are a horrible person.
Anyone can treat their friends and family with kindness. That means nothing. It’s how you treat outsiders that reveals who you really are. And these Murietta people, along with others like them, revealed exactly who and what they are.

And of course, like most bullies, they can dish it out, but that can’t take even a thousandth of it. “Hate City?” That hurts your feelings? Oh, boo hoo. If the cowboy hat fits, wear it, fool.

#3 Clay Jones
July/18/2014
@ 5:10 am

The crisis manager could have worded his letter better to be clear that he’s threatening legal action. I don’t think this is a physical threat.
You would think if they were to take legal action that they wouldn’t contact Lalo at all.

I wouldn’t lose much sleep. If they file suit it’ll further Lalo’s career. Yes a judge will hear it. They might even win before losing on appeal. But Lalo exercised free speech. He didn’t libel anyone. It can also be argued that Lalo didn’t attack the city as much as he’s attacked the protest named after the city.

#4 Dave Stephens
July/18/2014
@ 2:17 pm

A teeny tiny minority of Murrieta people protested.

The whole city did NOT.

If this happened in Los Angeles, there is NO WAY that the cartoonist would label the shark-toothed mouth “Los Angeles.”

NO WAY.

Labeling a whole city is the same stupidity as labeling an entire race. Whenever it happens, it is ALWAYS wrong…

#5 Clay Jones
July/18/2014
@ 3:04 pm

To say it’s wrong is one thing but is it libelous? Hell no.

The city hired a public relations “expert” to handle their image and he’s the one who sent Lalo the letter. That’s public relations? I thought public relations professionals were supposed to work damage control….not create more damage.

http://www.pe.com/articles/murrieta-697685-hermosillo-city.html

#6 Dave Stephens
July/18/2014
@ 5:29 pm

I agree – it’s hardly libelous. But it is definitely stupid. If there were laws against general stupidity, the whole world would be jailed…

#7 Mike Peterson
July/19/2014
@ 6:06 am

There’s nothing unfair about pointing out the consequences of letting bigots define you. As noted on my blog, the people of Selma and Little Rock have to live with the reputations their cities picked up, and the people of Murrieta are no different.

There are many people along the border performing humanitarian acts on behalf of these kids, but that’s a separate issue and those people are not a majority, either, I promise you. The majority, I’m willing to bet, are doing nothing to move the needle either way, as the majority always has and always will.

Bottom line has not changed: If you want to improve your reputation and save yourself from going down in history as a city of hate, you have to be vocally and visibly not that thing. When you allow the haters to be the only vocal presence, you are allowing them to define you.

And if it isn’t complicity on the part of the citizenry, it’s at least incompetence on the part of the city’s PR director.

#8 Dave Stephens
July/19/2014
@ 11:20 pm

Stopping free speech won’t happen there or anywhere… The PR Director can only spin, she can’t dictate people’s opinions. Like the Westboro Baptist Church does NOT define their town. But is their town stained? Indeed.

Who allowed them? The USA, every day, non-stop.

#9 Terry LaBan
July/20/2014
@ 4:20 pm

During the initial protests, if not later, the Murrieta police helped or at least didn’t prevent the protestors from stopping the buses and city officials–most prominently the mayor–expressed support for their actions. So it wasn’t just a few people making noise–it was the city government as well. Which makes Lalo’s characterization quite defendable.
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-immigrants-murrieta-20140701-story.html#page=1

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