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.
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.
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.