Cartoonist Bruce Tinsley is saying that the Gannett Group of newspapers
has dropped his Mallard Fillmore comic strip en masse.
Bruce Tinsley, creator of the 27-year-old cartoon, said he was told this week by his syndication company that Gannett newspapers across the country simultaneously dropped the comic over two strips critical of President Biden and transgender participation in women’s sports.
“It was a big shock,” Mr. Tinsley told The Washington Times. “From what I’m hearing, it was unprecedented. My syndicate had never seen anything like it.”
He said officials at King Features, which syndicates the cartoon, said that “a decision was made at the [Gannett] corporate level, and they weren’t sure exactly why, except that they were sure it was about those two cartoons.”
The two comics ran Feb. 19-20. The first depicts Mr. Biden musing: “For too long, segregation sullied women’s sports … They were restricted to women! Thank goodness those dark days are over.”
In the second cartoon, Mr. Biden says, “I hear what you, the American people, want me to do … kill fossil-fuel jobs … devalue Americans’ labor … and help more transgender athletes beat the *@!# out of biological females.”
The story continues:
His strip has been dropped before — sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently — but he said those moves were made by local editors on a newspaper-by-newspaper basis, not by corporate headquarters in a decision affecting multiple publications.
“So I’m used to this phenomenon, I’m just not used to it coming from the corporate level,” Mr. Tinsley said. “I still don’t know how many. They said it had never happened before. it was all at once and it was a mandate from the corporation, not any individual editors’ decisions.”
The Gannett website lists over 250 daily newspapers as part of the group,
though it is unknown how many of those newspapers carried Mallard Fillmore.
Our report yesterday listed The Stockton Record, The Sarasota Herald Tribune,
and The Indianapolis Star as dropping Bruce’s comic, they are all Gannett papers.
Of course if only half, or even a quarter, the 258 daily papers had carried the strip…
[Tinsley] said “Mallard Fillmore” continues to be syndicated by King Features — “They’ve been really supportive” — and that his editors warned him that his royalty check would be significantly smaller with the strip running in fewer newspapers.
“They said, ‘We knew you would not believe it when you see your check, because this is a huge hit,’” Mr. Tinsley said.
He said he took time off last year due to a long illness. During that time, the syndicate brought in another cartoonist, Loren Fishman, to draw “Mallard Fillmore,” and that they now split duties.