Canadian newspaper withdraws cartoon, apologises and dispenses with cartoonist

Un diario canadiense retira una viñeta, se disculpa y prescinde del dibujante
Cartoon unpublished by Toronto Sun newspaper

Accusations pulling the wild card of anti-Semitism in cartoons might as well be a general category of this blog, because there are enough cases to fill it twice over.

In the case of the syndicated cartoonists, although technically it is not technically a dismissal because it is a service that the newspapers contract out to different agencies, I would bet some vital organ that the medium we are dealing with today would have fired him anyway if he had been a staff cartoonist, it wouldn't be the first time.

Now it is the Canadian newspaper Toronto Sun, part of the Postmedia Network group, which has apologised for a cartoon, withdrawn it (or rather unpublished it), apologised and announced that it will no longer publish cartoons by this author.

Toronto Sun explains its decision:

Sun apologizes for cartoon

The cartoon did not meet our editorial standards, we were wrong to run it and we apologize.

Earlier this week, we ran a cartoon depicting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy picking the pocket of U.S. President Joe Biden.

It falsely implied American aid to Ukraine involves theft.

It was hurtful to Canadians of Ukrainian origin, and to all Ukrainians, fighting an existential struggle against Russian aggression.

It also used anti-Semitic stereotypes in its depiction of Zelenskyy.

It was hurtful to Canadians of Jewish origin, and to the Jewish people, currently under assault from a global wave of anti-Semitism.

We failed them and we failed all of you, our readers.

The syndicated cartoonist behind the cartoon will no longer run in our newspaper.

We promise to do better in the future.

– Adrienne Batra, Editor in Chief

The image, by cartoonist Gary Varvel (1957), a self-described "conservative", was published on 20 December (copy in Archive) in its paper and digital editions and has since been removed from the web. The scene, which has little to explain, shows Zelenski taking Joe Biden's wallet from his pocket.

Anything and everything is "anti-Semitism".

Although I believe that the joke has less depth than the Murcia puddle and is so elastic and open that it lends itself to different interpretations, it has been immediately qualified by some, including the media that publishes it, as anti-Semitic, among other things.

Even the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, criticised the newspaper Toronto Sun for its "anti-Semitic content".

Completely unaware of the specific message the author was trying to express, I again have the feeling that since Zelenski is Jewish, it is enough for someone to claim that the joke is anti-Semitic for there to be no need to argue anything more about it. Perhaps because accusations of anti-Semitism are often so flimsy and hasty as to be poorly defended.

Canadian newspaper withdraws cartoon, apologises and dispenses with cartoonist

Humour in trouble, compilation of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.

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