Cartoonist Quits After Newspaper Apologizes

PARIS (AFP) — A leading French cartoonist on Wednesday said he would no longer work for Le Monde after the newspaper apologized for a cartoon he drew that tackled a sex-abuse scandal.

France’s intellectual elite was rocked this month by a claim that political commentator Olivier Duhamel sexually abused his stepson, prompting social media users to speak out under the hashtag #MeTooInceste.

images © Xavier Gorce

The Agence France-Presse article (via Courthouse News Service) continues:

In a cartoon published in Le Monde’s newsletter on Tuesday, Xavier Gorce had reflected on the controversy with a drawing of two penguins.

The smaller penguin asks the other: “If I was abused by the adopted half-brother of the partner of my transgender father who has now become my mother, is that incest?”

In an apology to readers, Le Monde’s editor-in-chief Caroline Monnot said the cartoon should not have been published.

“This drawing can indeed be read as relativizing the seriousness of acts of incest, using inappropriate terms towards victims and transgender people,” she said.

Some social media users had also accused Gorce of transphobia and mocking the victims of sex abuse.

But he hit back, writing on Twitter that he had decided to “immediately stop working with Le Monde.”

“It is a personal, unilateral and definitive decision. Freedom cannot be negotiated. My drawings will continue.”

From the New York Daily News:

Speaking with the magazine Le Point, the cartoonist, who’d worked at Le Monde for 18 years, said that he was “misunderstood.”

“I have never had a censored drawing and I have always enjoyed great freedom. I guess this drawing must have been judged correct before its publication, otherwise it would not have passed… At the moment, the drawing is still on the site and I refuse to talk about censorship,” he added.

France24 notes that Gorce posted one final cartoon at Le Monde:

He also posted a final cartoon for Le Monde which again showed two penguins — this time both adults — with one asking: “Do you have your health passport for a sense of humour?”

Both cartoons remain on the Xavier page of Le Monde’s website as of this writing.