Gainesville Sun Discontinues Jake Fuller Editoons

Freelance editorial cartoonist Jake Fuller has lost his spot at The Gainesville Sun due to bad timing and an inattentive opinion page editor. A cartoon using domestic violence as an analogy was published two days after a double homicide, but Jake’s deadline, which he met, was two days before the tragedy.

WCJB Gainesville reports:

A freelance cartoonist was let go from the Gainesville Sun after some say a recent cartoon went too far.

Jake Fuller has been a freelance cartoonist with the Gainesville Sun for 8 years. This Sunday, they published a cartoon that depicts domestic violence in terms of the Springs County movement and the Alachua County Commission.

According to Fuller, a City Commissioner saw the cartoon and complained to the Gainesville Sun. “He apparently complained to the editor that it was in poor taste because of the, there had been a double homicide here in town and domestic violence,” Fuller told TV20.

Fuller said that his deadline for submitting the cartoons is on Wednesdays, which was well before the double homicide took place.

So Jake had met his Wednesday deadline, the alleged murder took place two days later on Friday,
but the Opinion Page Editor never pulled the cartoon from the Sunday edition.

The newspaper issued a statement:

“Jake Fuller has not been a Sun employee for a number of years and his editorial cartoons have been run on a freelance basis. His cartoon that ran Sunday caused us to reevaluate that arrangement, but it was not the sole reason that we decided to stop publishing his cartoons. We aim to publish a broad array of opinions, presented in a thoughtful and constructive way.”

update: In a December 8 editorial The Sun talks of the cartoon, among other things::

We’re also going through some significant staff changes. And, this past weekend, we made an unforced error in publishing an editorial cartoon that many understandably found offensive. 

The cartoon, if you didn’t see Sunday’s edition, showed a man and woman. The woman, with the label “Springs County Movement” on her apron, has a black eye and bandaged face. She says, “I want a divorce.” Her presumed husband, with “B.O.C.C.” tattooed on his arm, responds, “C’mon baby! You don’t think I treat you good? If you got a beef you can talk to me …” 

The intended message by cartoonist Jake Fuller — that some in northwestern Alachua County are in a toxic relationship with the Board of County Commissioners — is lost in the insensitive portrayal of domestic violence. 

That’s made much worse by tragic events that unfolded after the Sunday opinion pages went to print.

Like other newspapers, The Sun maintains boundaries between news and opinion content, just as we respect a clear distinction between news and advertising. Even so, publishing the cartoon was a mistake to begin with, and was compounded by a family tragedy that underscores the real terror of domestic violence.

Jake was an editorial cartoonist for The Gainesville Sun from 1992 to 2008 when he was laid off. Jake had been on staff from 1997 to 2008. Around 2012 Jake and The Sun resumed their relationship on a freelance basis.

Jake’s editorial cartoons for national and world audiences are syndicate through Artizans.

While the WCJB transcript doesn’t say it, the broadcast segment mentions that the local conservative news site Alachua Chronicle has retained Jake’s services:

Editor’s note: We are pleased to announce that Alachua Chronicle will now feature editorial cartoons by Jake Fuller whenever the mood strikes him.