Violence, Women, and Editorial Cartooning


In a weekend roundup of editorial cartoonists I linked to an article about Halifax political cartoonist Michael de Adder catching grief about a recent cartoon.

The reaction to the cartoon was immediate and strong:

…what had people most upset was the depiction of Wilson-Raybould tied and gagged — with some saying it draws an ugly parallel to violence against women and Indigenous women in particular.

“Add in the context of Jody … being an Indigenous woman. There’s a sensitivity around missing and murdered Indigenous women in this country that is completely unacceptable to make jest of in any way, shape or form.”

Indigenous women face disproportionate violence in Canada. According to a 2017 government report, Indigenous women are physically or sexually assaulted almost three times as often as non-Indigenous women. They’re also seven times more likely to be murdered by serial killers, and they face intimate partner violence at a higher rate and with more severity than other women.

Michael has apologized for the image noting that the backlash prompted “a lot of self-reflection,”:

“Cartoonists sometimes have unanticipated secondary interpretations in cartoons that they don’t intend.”

“I assure people who have supported over the course of my career that I’m not tone deaf to concerns about this cartoon.”

The Global News article notes that Michael was not the only cartoonist to portray the situation in a controversial fashion. Here’s famed cartoonist Graeme MacKay‘s take:


The Huffington Post also wrote about the cartoon controversy revealing other De Adder cartoons in a similar vein. The HuffPost item also noted that the Trudeau/Wilson-Raybould conflict seemed to suggest these type of cartoons. Below is well-known cartoonist Andy Donato‘s view:

Graeme MacKay defended rather than apologized for his cartoon:

Sure, some people might think that they appreciate satire, it only works for them if the satire isn’t exposing the folly of their political heroes. What is worrying is the growing trend by readers to spread false accusations, to report or clamp down on satire, whenever they feel offended by an editorial cartoon.

From the HuffPost (with link to Graeme’s post):

In his response to the criticism, though, MacKay had a different reaction to de Adder. In a piece on his website called “Autopsy of a Twitter Pile-on,” MacKay defended his cartoon as something not meant to get laughs, but to provoke thought. In this case, “outrage and offence [are] clouding logical thought,” he wrote. The piece also suggests that many of his critics don’t understand satire.

There are pro and con reactions in both the Global News and the HuffPost comments sections.








One thought on “Violence, Women, and Editorial Cartooning

Comments are closed.