His layoff after 36 years as the Observer’s editorial cartoonist muted one of our strongest voices
[Ever] since the Observer hired the Minnesota native in 1987, [Kevin Siers] has irked readers at every point on the political spectrum, applying a cartoonist’s skewer to presidents, Charlotte City Council members, business leaders—potentially anyone in the public eye. That’s been the role of newspaper cartoonists since the 19th century, when Thomas Nast, “the Father of the American Cartoon,” took aim at “Boss” Tweed and Tammany Hall.
This July, the company that owns the Observer decided it no longer had room for Siers and two other editorial cartoonists, Jack Ohman of The Sacramento Bee and Joel Pett of the Lexington Herald-Leader. All three had won Pulitzer Prizes.
Siers says the news of his layoff “came out of the blue.” St. Onge sent him a text message the morning of July 11, telling him to join a Zoom call at 2 p.m. “I got sort of a sick feeling in my stomach,” he says. Speaking from his home in Salisbury, Maryland, where he moved with his wife last year, Siers emphasizes that he holds no grudge against anyone at the Observer. But he believes cartoonists deliver something essential to communities—sharp-witted voices that challenge power and readers’ preconceptions.
Charlotte Magazine names editorial cartoonist Kevin Siers as a Charlottean of the Year/Media category and runs a nice profile letting fans (that’s us!) know what he’s doing after-staff (“still draws three cartoons per week for Cagle Cartoons“).
Charlotte Magazine Facebook previews Kevin’s cover illustration.