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Company Complains, Cartoonist Canned

The Worcester Business Journal published an editorial cartoon critical of the local
Table Top Pies factories which drew a complaint from the company.

Cartoonist Don Landgren shared the complaint that asserted the cartoon was racist:

“We are deeply concerned about the recent editorial cartoon that was published on December 8, 2020 depicting an African American worker on a Table Talk Pie assembly line. The cartoon is categorically inaccurate, but more importantly, it is racist and dehumanizing. The cartoonist is suggesting that this assembly line worker has no grasp of the English language because he is a minority. The use of the words – ‘Fore I lose an eye’ are deeply offensive, regardless of the overall point that Don Langren was attempting to make, as inaccurate as it was.

I am shocked that you did not flag the cartoon before it went to press. Were you blind to the racial overtones of the cartoon? If so, that is also deeply troubling. This is something one might expect in the Deep South in the 1960’s, but not in a progressive City such as Worcester in 2020, when the national conversation has centered around the much needed improvement of race relations in this nation. Your cartoon is hurtful and should never have been published.”

Don thinks the charge of racism is a distraction to get rid of a cartoon the company didn’t like, saying that the stylized word “‘fore” was used in the poem for cadence purposes. The cartoon seems to be based on an earlier article that appeared in the WBJ about Table Talk Pies’ troubles with OSHA.

This brings to mind the old Boss Tweed story that he didn’t mind the stories but wanted to
“Stop those damn pictures.” The cartoon was removed from WBJ’s online archives.

cartoons © Worcester Business Journal/Don Landgren

After a year and a half as an occasional cartoonist for the fortnightly paper, which included one other Table Talk Pies cartoon (above), Don is no longer contributing to the Worcester Business Journal (and hasn’t since that December 8, 2020 issue).

Contacted by phone the editor that initiated cartoons at the paper by hiring Landgren said he has the highest regard for Don and his contributions but they have decided to move on.

In February 2021 the WBJ began publishing cartoons by Ramon Sandoval.
Don Landgren continues to contribute to various local publications among others.

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