San Diego Union-Tribune Drops Mallard Fillmore: “Hate Speech”

The San Diego Union-Tribune is dropping the Mallard Fillmore comic strip by Bruce Tinsley because readers accused a recent strip featuring U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar of being anti-Semitic.

Says the newspaper:

The decision is based on the Aug. 12 strip. In that strip artist Bruce Tinsley depicted Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Emailers and callers said the strip was anti-Semitic and dangerous given the recent violence directed at Jews, including the shooting at the Poway synagogue. (Readers can Google “Mallard Fillmore Aug. 12” if they wish to see it.)

“We don’t want hate speech in the Union-Tribune,” said Editor and Publisher Jeff Light. “Here’s a definition: Targeting people, particularly marginalized people, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color or sexual orientation. The ‘Mallard Fillmore’ strip was a blatant violation.


Cartoonist Bruce Tinsley regularly uses his comic strip to excoriate liberal positions and defend conservative ideas; which regularly provoke angry letters from those opposed to his political stances.

August seems to have been a particularly irritating month for some:

I have a hard time conveying my disgust regarding this “cartoon.” Its content may have, in a twisted way, tried to mock Democratic candidates — a legitimate target — but it does so at the expense of victims of mass shootings.


Tuesday’s Mallard Fillmore cartoon was entirely unacceptable. The cartoon depicts people of the mostly African-American city of Baltimore as rats. Rats. The Gazette may have some type of agreement to print Mallard Fillmore, but you would have to assume that does not require The Gazette to print overtly racist cartoons.


I was incensed by the Mallard Fillmore cartoon in the Aug. 14 Record, that railed against those people who have been calling the president a Nazi as well as the president’s private Nazi army known as ICE … If you don’t want the president to be called out as a Nazi, tell him to stop acting like one.


Does Bruce Tinsley believe that racism is a joke? With the history of this nation to this very day giving rise to white supremacy, I don’t believe it is a joke delivered by a clown. Mallard Fillmore is not a cartoon; it is Bruce Fletcher making a commentary. At least move him to the correct page.


There are more just for the month of August, but the August 12 installment, that caused the Union-Tribune to drop the strip seems to have elicited the most response.

I am disappointed and appalled that the Republican-American published the “Mallard Fillmore” cartoon (and I use that term loosely) by Bruce Tinsley on Aug. 12. With anti-Semitic rhetoric being spewed not only by President Trump and white supremacists, the newspaper only adds to this hatred by publishing Tinsley’s disgusting work and words.


I’m not sure what Bruce Tinsley is trying to intimate in his Mallard Fillmore “comic” of Aug. 12 (Page B9), but it is obscenely offensive to Jews, which I am one.


Back to the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Over the years, many U-T readers have indeed found the strip controversial. The Aug. 12 strip received the most complaints in the five years I’ve been the readers’ rep. Editors throughout the newsroom also took calls and emails.

“Using that language so callously when we have hate crime happening seemed so tone deaf to be insulting,” said Shana Charles, a Ph.D. in the department of public health at California State University Fullerton, who emailed the U-T.

The newspaper, seeking comment, has yet to hear from King Features.

The paper’s other political comic strips will now be segregated:

[Editor and Publisher Jeff] Light said the two remaining strips that often deal with political themes, “La Cucaracha” and “Doonesbury,” will be moved under a political heading on the comics page.


ArcaMax and TribLive are the sources for Mallard Fillmore archives.


13 thoughts on “San Diego Union-Tribune Drops Mallard Fillmore: “Hate Speech”

  1. I loathe Tinsley’s politics but some of those complaints are a stretch. Where is he suggesting that the rats are African Americans? He citing the claim that Baltimore has a rat problem.

    And maybe you’d say that it is his intention and he just knows how to craft the comic so it doesn’t explicitly say what he’s trying to get across.

    If that is the case, I’d give points to Tinsley and move on because once we start trying to read everyone’s mind and see all their intentions without their explanation, the world will quickly fall into——————- where we are right now. Ahem.

  2. Tinsley’s “comic” barely conceals a right leaning perspective that NEVER EVER looks at anything from the side of those being oppressed and ONLY the fragile white male conservative.

    he’s mocked LGBTQ as being the same as pedophiles. He’s mocked the #metoo movement as being fake.

    There is NOTHING funny nor poignant about a man who draws cartoons with the same false agenda as headliners on FoxNews.

    At the very least the other comics that people accuse of being political and biased tell TRUTHS and support those being abused by today’s politics. Mallard Fillmore ONLY defends the conservative point of view that everyone else is wrong. It never belonged in the comics to begin with and this last straw is so obviously unfunny, antisemetic and hateful that i wouldn’t be surprised if FOX or the NRA picked him up as a mouthpiece.

  3. I feel by cancelling the cartoon Mallard Fillmore this newspaper continues to silence the conservative voice. It does not surprise me that this very biased newspaper will not allow free speech from conservatives
    Apparently it is o.k. to be anti semetic as long as you are a Democrat. If president Trumpade the same comments as that congresswoman, everyone would have been mortified
    Every day this paper focuses on immigration and ignores the fact that our previous president separated families at the border and no one said a thing. When the stock market is up and unemployment is down, this newspaper ignores the positive economics. When the stock market is down, it is front page news. Why doesn’t this paper allow different views other than their own?

  4. I second the comment by Elayne Boosler: bring back
    Non Sequitur!!! I always “saved the best for last”. You (the U.T.)
    could also “update” some of the “older” comics that have been around for many, many years. It’s time for the U.T. to do another
    comics survey!!!

  5. Tinsley is a superb political satirist.

    Failure to acknowledge that is a personal shortcoming. He deserves no blame for his literary talent.

    Coda: perhaps the UT editorial board should visit a spine specialist.

  6. So superb political satire consists of a quick scribble of somebody the artist dislikes, looking directly at the reader in an otherwise empty panel, with a thought balloon in which that person flatly confesses to whatever anti-Democratic talking point showed up on the fax machine the day Tinsley lettered the strip.

    If I’d known how easy it was, I’d have gotten into the racket myself.

  7. Holy Cow!! Who would have thought that so many snow flakes could exist in San Diego. The most prominent characteristic of today’s Progressive left is the total and complete intolerance of opposing viewpoints. Man, you guys have intolerance down to a science. Censorship like this is the first step to totalitarian rule. You guys are scary, especially to those of us who value our freedoms.

  8. About the August 12th strip, I guess it is a sign that Jeff Light and others on the UT board just never mastered the concept of Satire. They are just trying to make sure that the art of ‘critical’ actual thinking becomes a lost art to the snowflake readers that need their safe spaces.

  9. I am once again appalled by this new age censorship bull crap! Bruce Tinsley did absolutely nothing to warrant having his comic strip Mallard Fillmore dropped from the San Diego Union-Tribune. His work is insightful and true but I guess the Tribune can’t handle things being told as they are. SHAME ON THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE!

  10. OMG. The artist, Mr. Tinsley, uses sarcasm to illustrate the blatant antisemitism of a woman who is a disgrace to the U.S. Congress. His ‘reward’ is to have the service he renders to the people of San Diego ended. With the excuse that *he* was antisemitic.
    Clearly, those who run the San Diego U-T either have zero ability to recognize satire (real unlikely), or they’ve gone totally left wing.

  11. With this latest cancellation of Mallard Fillmore, you are overzealous in your censorship. When my newspaper subscription expires I shall not renew it.

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