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The Guardian Won’t Renew Steve Bell Contract

Steve Bell joined The Guardian in 1981, next year the paper won’t renew the cartoonist’s contract. From The Jewish Chronicle:

The controversial Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell is to leave the Guardian after 40 years with the newspaper.

Mr Bell – who has repeatedly faced claims that some of his drawings where antisemitic and racist – has been told that his contract will not be renewed by the media organisation when it expires next year.

Guardian editor Kath Viner announced that the paper was axing 180 jobs earlier this week. But the decision not to renew Mr Bell’s contract is said to be unrelated to the latest round of redundancies.

Steve Bell has admonished the newspaper for rejecting his cartoons:

Last July, Mr Bell attacked his editors’ refusal to run a cartoon featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson , suggesting it is due to “some mysterious editorial line” about antisemitism.


In March a cartoon of Home Secretary Priti Patel, which depicted her with horns on her head and a ring through her nose, was widely condemned as racist.

The British Tamil Conservatives wrote: “It’s anti-Hindu. It portrays the Home Secretary, of Hindu origin, as a cow. A sacred symbol for Hindus. It’s racist and misogynist. It’s plainly unacceptable! It may constitute a hate crime.”

Though that cartoon remains on The Guardian website.

At this time neither the newspaper nor the cartoonist is commenting.

The JC report reveals more details and instances of Steve’s controversial cartoons.

Sunday Telegraph editor Chris Williams’ Twitter note on the matter has some citizen commentary.

update: Steve Bell has responded on that Chris William Twitter page stating that “Contract ending has everything to do with budget cuts and nothing to do with Priti Effing Patel!


Community Comments

#1 Mike Corrado
@ 2:28 pm

I have no problem with Bell’s politics, and I don’t think he’s antisemitici or racist. But I’m not unhappy to see him go. A sense of humor should be a requirement for editorial cartoonists, and Bell seems to me to lack both humor and imagination.

#2 Brice Mace
@ 6:01 am

Bell is scurrilous, bawdy, irreverent and humoursly insulting in his cartoons, exactly what is needed with this government and its now ‘hidden’ spad, he’s a breath of fresh air
To get rid of Bell is censorship and only aids those who dont like criticism
It is a bad move by the Guardian and I and others will be ending our Guardian voucher membership if he is dismissed

#3 Nicola Grove
@ 1:25 pm

Steve Bell was one of the last links with a principled socialist agenda in the Guardian’s increasingly authoritarian and anti Palestinian agenda. And – we don’t all share the same sense of humour- he was funny; and his class of irreverent characters have become friends over 40 years. In a way it’s a relief that the paper doesn’t even pretend to be leftwing any more. It’s lost it’s way and I now won’t even glance online.

#4 Mary Ella
@ 3:54 pm


The guy got dropped because a pencil-pusher up at corporate figured out that they’d be able to move 0.017% more units with him gone. That’s it. It’s not freaking censorship, it’s capitalism. I thought all you people loved capitalism.

#5 John Peachey
@ 5:32 am

Back in the day of cormorants and penguins Bell was ace but his recent bum faced Johnson is weak and no longer funny. Saying goodbye to Bell is a sad decision but I think his time was up….there are other ‘scurrilously bawdy, irreverent and humorously insulting’ cartoonists out there.

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