Ann Telnaes receives ‘sexually violent and misogynistic threats’

Ann Telnaes controvercial cartoon

A recent cartoon by Ann Telnaes has generated what she describes as “sexually violent and misogynistic threats”. The cartoon (see above) is actually an animated cartoon. Visit the Washington Post to see the full cartoon.

From Ann’s blog:

Early last week I created a cartoon about the bombings in Gaza. In editorial cartooning, there are some topics which will result in intense reactions from certain groups, as did this one. The series of events started with the Simon Wiesenthal Center issuing a press release last Friday from which the Jerusalem Post wrote a short article titled ?US Jews furious over Washington Post cartoon showing Netanyahu punching Palestinian infant? (I?ll note the JP did not ask me for a comment). So all weekend and again this morning I?ve been getting tweets and emails, some obviously group orchestrated, accusing me of antisemitism and that I support Hamas. Anyone remotely familiar with my work knows I never criticize people?s religious beliefs, only the actions of governments and the leaders of any organization which try to influence public policies that affect ordinary people?s lives.

22 thoughts on “Ann Telnaes receives ‘sexually violent and misogynistic threats’

  1. Let ’em bomb the crap out of each other and innocent civilians, but don’t you dare make any comments that smack of criticism or you’ll have both sides down on your head.

    Keep up the good work. You’re doing what editorial cartoonists are SUPPOSED to do, for crying out loud!

  2. “Keep up the good work. You?re doing what editorial cartoonists are SUPPOSED to do, for crying out loud!”

    Is it the job of editorial cartoonists to provoke reactions and criticisms? Is that what editorial cartoonists are supposed to do if they’re doing “good work”? Or are editorial cartoonists doing good work when they create a cartoon that is graphically interesting, clever and… gets at the truth? If the latter, this cartoon fails.

    The problem in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not Israel. It is the Palestinians. This is not a conflict between two peoples equally at fault. When the Palestinian leaders call for the non-acceptance of the Jewish state of Israel, they put themselves outside the bounderies of responsible nations and peoples. It is a position best described as a “non-starter.” Unless and until the Palestinians – and the Arab-Muslim world in general – can genuinely recognize and accept a Jewish state in Israel, they will remain outside those boundaries of civilized people and will continue being irresponsible and living in fantasy until they take this most fundamental step – accepting a Jewish state in Israel. Until that happens, Israel/Palestinian peace talks are futile. Until that happens, Israel and the Palestinians are in a state of war, sometimes cold, sometimes hot. But war nontheless.

  3. A cartoon that says Israel is purposefully using the deaths of children in its fight with the Palestinians is grossly untrue. It is false… as false as one can be. The Israelis go out of their way to avoid killing civilians.

    Why would they want to kill civilians, little kids among them, to get their way? It seems quite obvious that killing innocent civilians (kids being the most innocent) is the last thing the Israelis want to do.

    So if it’s the job of a cartoonist to hit the bullseye of the truth, this cartoon falls flat. It is not good work. It’s bad work. It’s false.

  4. “A cartoon that says Israel is purposefully using the deaths of children in its fight with the Palestinians is grossly untrue.”

    Actually, Hamas counts on the civilian casualties, especially children, to gin up international pressure on Israel. In that sense, dead kids are one of its most effective weapons. If the cartoon was accurate, the Hamas guy would be blocking Israel’s punches with the kid. Then, after it was beaten to death, he’d take a picture of the bloody corpse and use it for fundraising.

  5. While I usually really like Ann’s work, this one is way off the mark. Terry Laban’s version is on the money.

  6. The issue here is not the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The issue isn?t even Ann?s cartoon and whether or not it?s in good taste or bad, right or wrong, inaccurate or unfair. The issue here is the despicable nature of the violent threats, personal attacks and misogynistic assaults the cartoon has netted. Whether I agree with her or not on the topic at hand, I firmly stand with Ann in defending her right to openly express her opinion without having to endure threats of violence.

  7. I think this discussion thread is missing the point of Ann’s blog post. It’s not about the nature of the cartoon or even the fact that she’s receiving threats. As she says, threats are a run of the mill reaction to any strongly opinionated editorial cartoon. I imagine she gets threats in her email every day from someone or other and doesn’t bother to blog about it.

    The point of her post seems to be that, because she is a woman, the nature of the threats she is getting are gender specific. I am sure there are plenty of references to rape scenarios among other sexist bullying tactics.

    It is the sort of thing that still happens to any strong woman, even in our post-Gloria Steinem, “empowered and equal” modern world.

    It is an ugly thing and sets us not as far apart from countries where the Taliban shoots little girls for daring to get an education as we might hope we are.

  8. Ann does not say threats of violence are a run of the mill reaction, or eludes that it?s an acceptable daily course of the profession. Much the opposite. Blowback and angry reaction, yes, but not violent threats. She states specifically, ??violence and threats are not acceptable.?

    Threatening reaction to cartoons have increased in recent years, but thankfully they still remain anomalous and considered by civilized beings as outside the threshold of what is acceptable. The sexually violent and misogynistic threats compound the level of horror and disgust, something her male counterparts do not typically have to endure. This expands the outrage to another dimension of the unacceptable. But, please, let?s not deem violent threats as the norm. It?s not. And, sexist bullying is unacceptable in any capacity.

    Ann?s entire statement can be seen at (her blog):

  9. I agree that an editorial cartoonist has the right to express his or her view on any given issue. The cartoon in question however is beyond the pale. The reason there have been so many civilian casualties in Gaza is because Hamas imbeds their rocket launchers in schools, hospitals and Mosques to deliberately cause the death of civilians. The difference between Israel and Hamas is that Israel attempts to warn civilians to reduce the death of innocents while Hamas not only targets Israeli civilians, but cynically uses it’s own people as propaganda photo ops. Ann’s cartoon could not be farther off the mark!

  10. Having the right to her opinion on any subject as an editorial cartoonist is not the issue. Everyone accepts that. And the issue is not the nature of the nutty emails she’s getting. And the issue is not her gender, sex or whatever it’s called these dayss. The issue is the cartoon. Is it a good one or is it not? Seems to me the most fundamental definition of a good cartoon would be that it has some smidgen of truth in its center… or even on the periphery. Ann’s cartoon has no truth to it at all.

  11. I know Alan would rather this blog be about cartooning than a slug fest about politics but I did want to clarify a couple of things about my cartoon and post.

    Regardless how you feel about which side is ultimately responsible for the deaths of children in Gaza, the fact is these are children. They have no say in the actions of the adults of either side. If masses of Israeli children were being killed by Hamas’ bombs because the Israeli government was housing ammunition and arms in schools, my approach to the cartoon would be the same.

    The reason I posted that piece on my website is because in my 20 years of editorial cartooning I have never seen the type of sexist/misogynist responses to any other cartoon or topic. If you’re following any international news at all you know attacks against women are increasing and it’s a topic which should be acknowledged and addressed. That some people dismiss it as an issue doesn’t surprise me; it’s always easy to ignore things if it doesn’t affect you or your world.

  12. Political cartooning GUARANTEES vicious reactions… It’s the name of the game and it is a very nasty game, getting nastier by the day it seems. Ann is fortunate to be able to voice an opinion – there seems to be less and less political cartoon voices every year and that is a very sad situation…

  13. “If masses of Israeli children were being killed by Hamas? bombs because the Israeli government was housing ammunition and arms in schools, my approach to the cartoon would be the same.”

    If your approach would be the same, then your newly-created cartoon would be just as wrong as the one at the top of this thread.

    You, Ann Telnaes, seem to believe that just expressing your abhorrence at the death of children is enough of a justification for your cartoon. It’s not enough. Everyone agrees that the death of children is horrible. You’re not saying anything of significance by saying you don’t like seeing children dying on your TV screen. Why are they dying is the question an editorial cartoonist should ask. And then take a stand by drawing a cartoon that has truth at its center as to who is to blame, who is responsible for these deaths. Your cartoon says that Israel is responsible, not as accidents of collateral damage, but as a deliberate policy on Israel’s part of killing children. It’s total B.S. and you know it. You are a good cartoonist, Ann, but this one is clearly a misfire.

  14. Ann Telnaes. I have a question for you.

    In California recently, there was a bank robbery.

    The robbers had hostages. Many, many shots were fired by the criminals to try to kill the police that were following them and the police being fired upon returned fire.

    In the end, some hostages escaped, but one hostage was killed, likely by the cops trying to kill the criminals….

    Replace the hostage with a baby.

    If YOU were the robber, strapping a baby to yourself and the baby died, would YOU really blame the police? Because I think even the criminal would blame himself completely….

  15. You know, I get emails and comments all of the time regarding my editorial cartoons that question my thought process, my intelligence, the legitimacy on my birth. Writers warn me about the consequences of my gross misunderstandings and some the certainty of eternal damnation or a good ol’ butt kicking.

    But two things: First, the raves generally stay on-topic — a perceived slight to a, say, political party generates responses that have something to do with the political party. Second, I never ever get insults and threats of violence based on my gender.

    Ann is absolutely right to expose the off-topic and misogynist responses to this particular cartoon. It is, as you say Carl, total B.S. But also harmful and dangerous.

  16. Thanks, Carl, for your response. I couldn’t have said it better. But I could take it further. Ann isn’t just saying Israel is deliberately targeting children in the fight with Hamas. She’s saying it’s targeting children INSTEAD of fighting Hamas. That’s not just an academic point. From the minute Israel started responding to Hamas’ attacks,mobs have been rampaging through streets around the world, assaulting bystanders and vandalizing synagogues, screaming that Jews-all Jews- are “baby killers”. By, even if unintentionally, perpetuating that slander–which long predates the situation in Gaza or even the State of Israel-Ann does worse than merely misrepresent the current situation.
    I’m a longtime admirer of Ann Telnaes. I deplore the death of children. And I know no reasonable person, myself included, who thinks anyone should have to endure gender-based threats, or any threats, for expressing an opinion. But that isn’t the only issue here. Guess we all have our own definition of “off topic”.

  17. My friend Ann and I are consistently on opposite sides and this is no different (quick, name me another conflict that demands a “ceasefire”. Take your time) but misogyny is the point here. It’s wrong to attack someone based on gender (can you still say “the fairer sex”?), race, religion -the list goes on. So next time Bill Mahr calls Sarah Palin a “c*nt” or Condi Rice is called a “house N” or Michele Malkin is called an “asian ho”, etc I’m sure those outraged at Ann’s mistreatment -including Ann, will be just as… -oh forget it.

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