Ben Garrison: "I fought the trolls for many years and I lost"


Cartoon by Ben Garrison for OHPI

Ben Garrison (59) (Web - Twitter) is one of the American cartoonists who stirs up the most passions and fights between those who defend his ideas and those who are dedicated to bashing him. It is also said that he is the most trolled cartoonist on the internet.

This cartoonist from Lakeside, Montana, a self-described libertarian, drew political cartoons for a couple of newspapers early in his career. His first cartoons on local and national politics were published in the San Angelo Standard-Times. He also published some in the San Antonio Express-News.

After a 20-year hiatus, during which time he worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as a designer and computer graphics artist, he decided to return to cartooning as a freelancer in 2008.

A few days ago I came across this tweet in which he said:

Our website is down again. This is the third time. Hillary and her agents hate free speech. We are working on it.

On his Facebook page he also linked the suspension of his website to the publication of a cartoon about Hillary Clinton and added that each time this happened it was after publishing a cartoon critical of Hillary.

Some websites began to attach some importance to the issue, linking it to the publication of a cartoon without questioning whether it could be a technical issue, an issue of excessive traffic, or whether it could be a technical issue, as in the case of a cartoon about Hillary Clinton the author ended by admittingbut without missing the opportunity to suggest that: "..."it seems as if someone is hell-bent on silencing us".

Although his page was up and running again 12 hours later, many other websites had already fed the author's theory of alleged censorship in an attempt to stop him from publishing this cartoon.

Garrison doesn't let any controversy pass him by. And he feeds them well. He has his reasons.

Although Garrison says he has never openly declared himself a supporter or defender of Donald Trump, or any other candidate. He doesn't need to because he can't hide that rubs the back and he often positions himself to the right of the right, what they call the right-wing.

However, during Trump's campaign he drew cartoons that looked like scripted cartoons from Donald's campaign managers. He has continued to suck up to him afterwards.

Trolling Garrison

It's not easy to pinpoint the exact date when Garrison's cartoons began to be modified, but those who did it ended up turning Garrison into a martyr of the Alt-Right.

It is believed to have started with this one entitled"The March of Tyranny" which he posted on his old blog on 22 August 2010.(Copy in Archive - screenshot) perhaps because it was one of the most widely circulated. The image of the popular meme known as"Le Happy Merchant"was added to it.

pdf-mini +Info (The Antisemitic Meme of the Jew- PDF)

Ben Garrison:

Above the original cartoon below the manipulated one

Ben Garrison:

On 22 May 2011, the author warned that his cartoons were being manipulated.

There is some unknown entity or cretin out there changing my cartoons and adding offensive Jewish stereotypes that then spread across the internet. While leaving MY signature on them.

Rest assured that my target is the elite of the international banking system and the Federal Reserve. NOT the Jews. I apologise to anyone who was offended by the hijacked cartoons. Please help me to report these creeps if you see them on blogs to demand their removal.

The war in the forums

Contrary to what you read on most of the sites telling this story, some claim that it all started at 4chon (created on 1 May 2010, now closed) and not on 4chan, but eventually spread to 8chan, 4chan forums, blogs and all sorts of other sites.

This is a real bummer for any author. And I understand why he tried to stop it. After all, it was his signature that kept appearing in cartoons with messages that were interpreted as anti-Semitic. Garrison has always denied having anti-Semitic ideas and continues to insist on it.


Disclaimer on Garrison's Facebook page

There came a time when there were so many manipulated images that they were appearing in searches, sometimes outnumbering the originals.

Some manipulated cartoons

Ben Garrison:

Above the original cartoon. Below the manipulated one

Ben Garrison:

Above the original cartoon. Below the manipulated one


Above the original cartoon. Below the manipulated one


Above the original cartoon. Below the manipulated one


Above the original cartoon. Below the manipulated one


"Zyklon Ben" Garrison

In addition to tampering with his cartoons he was given several nicknames, perhaps the most used is "Zyklon Ben" Garrison, but the list includes many more.

They also transformed several of his photos and added Nazi symbolism to them, and no one could stop the parodies.


One of Garrison's manipulated photos

Threat to 8chan

Garrison became increasingly angry and in 2014 threatened to sue 8chan if they didn't take down the parodies on DMCA grounds (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), but they dismissed him by arguing that they didn't need any permission to criticise his cartoons and that it was"fair use".

Since nothing else came of it, I guess it was all just a warning.


Garrison's email to 8chan

Ben Garrison:

Reply Source

The Online Hate Prevention Institute

In his fight, almost single-handedly, to try to stop the number of parodies from growing, in addition to denouncing Facebook pages and forums where the manipulated cartoons were spread, he turned to The Online Hate Prevention Institute to further publicise his claims.

Finally, the author decided to take a different approach to dealing with trolls, as he stated in this interview of 14 May 2015and even participated in 8chan, taking the event with humour. He also wrote a book about it.

On a list of Ku Klux Klan members

The problems did not end for Garrison, in 2015 his name appeared on a list of Ku Klux Klan members released by Anonymous in Operation KKK and he had to deny his membership of the xenophobic and white supremacist group.

The list was called into question, as some of the people on it were known members who had stated so publicly on the internet and many others were mistakenly named.

Some media and individuals questioned Anonymous for failing to verify the alleged KKK connection of those named and ended up cutting their list.

Garrison's appearance on this list of KKK members was linked to the manipulated"The March of Tyranny" cartoon and subsequent false references to his anti-Semitism that had been spread on the internet.

Garrison, despite not having been drawing as a freelancer for very long, remains one of the most hated and praised authors. I still don't know what the proportions of the two sides are.

A bad cartoon

More than a few of Garrison's cartoons have provoked various angry reactions on the internet. One of the last episodes in which Garrison was singled out, among other things, as a racist was in May 2016, for this cartoon.


Michelle Obama on the left, Melania Trump on the right

Being a harsh and unrelenting critic is not always a sign of genius, as many of Garrison's followers claim. More often than not, behind those who boast of being "politically incorrect" and obsess about fighting the "do-gooders", there are excuses for gratuitous attacks and quite a few gaffes.

I have a high tolerance for humour of any colour. I assume it is fiction and I tend to follow the critics rather than the complacent, but in this case I can't find any political or social criticism anywhere in the cartoon. What was the message?

See that he even draws a penis-like bulge suggesting that Michelle looks like a guy. Then I found that it came from a joke about a photo. In 2014, Joan Rivers already blurted out that Michelle was transgender. In short, gossip and yellow rubble.

Garrison "defended" this cartoon by saying that he had uploaded it only for his (paying) Patreon subscribers and with other ambiguous arguments about satire that are hard to understand if you don't live in the author's head.

Maybe there's some American humour that escapes me, but I don't see it as anything more than a crass attack on the physique of one woman to praise that of another in a redneck attempt to compare the two in order to make a political cartoon.

And it is such an open image that it is possible to make more readings of the scene, I also understand that some may have interpreted it, as well as racist, as sexist, misogynist and even transphobic.

This obsession with disqualifying and despising political rivals on the basis of their physique, attire, a particular trait, sexual choice or race is a widespread practice among the most radical "Trumpists" (I remember a popular couple on the internet who practice it) and it is something that we in Spain are also quite familiar with. Classism with a touch of machismo.

Although if we are talking about attacks based on appearance, it is possible that Trump is the politician most caricatured for his hairstyle, which is nothing more than a graphic resource to ridicule the frequent nonsense he spouts and with which he so enjoys getting people so worked up.

Ben Garrison: "I fought the trolls for many years and lost"

Regardless of my opinion of Garrison's work, his positions on certain issues (of which I'm sure I find myself at odds with his opinion) or his views on politics, the truth is that it must be very hard to find yourself in his situation.

At a point of continuous harassment and discrediting, I understand most of your complaints, they are legitimate. I think I would also try to do something about it. Although I am unable to imagine what my reaction and strategy would be.

I contacted Garrison by email to ask for permission to reproduce his cartoons in this post and in addition to agreeing to use them he told me about another recent ruckus to which he added this opinion:

"The trolling has died down, although recently there has been a controversy involving a Canadian professor who posted an image with anti-Semitic hate text on Facebook. In that image he added my name and face.

A troll pasted my face on the picture and, of course, my name as well. I am surprised that journalists overlook this kind of slur without any warning that Ben Garrison is not an anti-Semite.

I warned the Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly and some Jewish publications about this.

I fought the trolls for many years and lost

Now I really don't care if they call me a "racist" or an "anti-Semite", but I am amazed at how easily the media passes over defamation without doing basic journalism"

Related link. Facebook explains flip flop jewish genocide post

Other links consulted:

Allah Snackbar

The Internet's Most Trolled Cartoonist (Comic)

America is freaking out over a cartoon of Michelle Obama

Artist Stand Against Leftist Persecution Makes Him a Super Star

Related, more cases in other countries.


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