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Joel Pett: No Disrespect Intended in Cartoon

Such a large contingent of Kentucky readers misinterpreted an editorial cartoon in
The Lexington Herald Leader that cartoonist Joel Pett felt the need to respond.


© Lexington Herald Leader/Joel Pett

Joel Pett:

A number of upset readers have contacted us regarding Sunday’s piece about the flooding in Eastern Kentucky, accusing me of insensitivity toward the victims, or of outright hostility to the region.

The intention of the drawing was to lament that when heartbreaking disasters like this strike, it is often the people who can least afford it who are hit the hardest.

I genuinely regret that, to some readers, I may have added another layer of hardship to an already unthinkably difficult time…

Read the full statement.

Community Comments

#1 Appalachian
August/2/2022
@ 6:19 pm

To state that a “large contingent of Kentucky readers misinterpreted” the cartoon is pretty stupid. Maybe if the majority of the people it was targeted at found it to be in poor taste and offensive then it actually was offensive, rather than being misunderstood? This cartoon depicts all of Appalachia and eastern Kentucky as being full of poor people with raggedy hair and clothing and old TV antennas on their roof. It is derogatory and defending it is not a good look on your website.

#2 D. D. Degg
August/2/2022
@ 7:32 pm

Nowhere is it stated that a “majority of people” found the cartoon insensitive. I merely think that enough (5? 10? 20?) people didn’t understand Joel’s intent, so the paper issued a clarification.
Thanks for disagreeing without being insulting.

#3 Andrea Carson
August/2/2022
@ 7:55 pm

A “majority of people”….you mean the thousands of comments I’ve seen from my fellow Kentuckians wholly agreeing that they all think this cartoon was in terrible taste? Children have died and this man, devoid of all critical thinking skills, thought it necessary to make a cartoon about it. If this flooding had happened in his own neighborhood, would he have made a cartoon about it? Doubtful.

#4 Paul Berge
August/2/2022
@ 8:11 pm

Really, people? You’ve never seen an editorial cartoon bemoaning a tragedy before? Not 9/11, the JFK assassination, the mass shooting of the week? I do feel for you all, but please save your energy for the stuff around you that actually matters.

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