Newspaper apologises for cartoon portraying dreamers as criminals

Newspaper apologises for cartoon portraying dreamers as criminals

Cartoon by Sean Delonas, syndicated in CagleCartoons, published in the Albuquerque Journal on 7/02/17

The New Mexico Albuquerque Journal new Mexico paper has apologised for a cartoon by Sean Delonas (New Jersey, 1962) that was published on Wednesday 7 February and which angered both Democrats and some Republicans who called it racist, among other things. Some even called for a protest.

The news in Albuquerque's KRQE.

The cartoon contains a bit of the whole repertoire of the"alt-right " discourse.

An elegant white couple is assaulted in a dark alley by three criminals. One with his trousers pulled down points a gun at the couple and steals the woman's handbag. Another, also with a gun, wears a jacket that reads "MS-13" (Mara Salvatrucha). A third, wearing a balaclava and carrying a bloody machete, is wearing a bomb waistcoat typical of suicide bombers and a backpack loaded with more explosives lit with what looks like a baby bomber.

The man says to his wife:

"Now, honey ... i think they prefer to call themselves 'Dreamers*' ... or future Democrats."


For many, Delonas's cartoon suggests that immigrants are nothing but gang members, thieves and terrorists, and as a cherry on top, he takes the opportunity to lump Democrats in with them.

When he posted it on Twitter on 4 February, it was already clear from the comments.

On his Facebookaccount, the cartoonist wrote that the reactions of Democratic politicians made him feel like he was going back to his days at the New York Post.

"Today, U.S. Senators and state lawmakers (all Democrats) from New Mexico took time out of their busy pay-to-play schedules to condemn me. Always enjoyed upsetting politicians, makes me feel like I'm back at the NY Post".

The newspaper did not shy away from the controversy and analysed the publication of the cartoon and the reactions on up to three occasions (1)-(2)-(3). In one of them the editor, Karen Moses, wrote a kind of apology in that way:

Political cartoons are often satire, and they often have more than one point of view. I don't pretend to know what cartoonist Sean Delonas was trying to convey in his cartoon that was published in Wednesday's Albuquerque Journal. But at one point it seemed to us that he was poking at President Trump's rhetoric by portraying a doddering Republican couple painting Dreamers with a fat, totally false brush.

Obviously, that was not the message received by many readers. Instead, many saw a very questionable cartoon and thought that was the Journal's position. It is not.

In retrospect, rather than generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. That was not the intention, and for that, the Journal apologises.

I repeat that the Albuquerque Journal does not condone racism or bigotry in any form.

I also want to reiterate that we do not agree with many of the views expressed in the editorial pages, which are intended to encourage debate. Furthermore, the editorial board decides what to publish on these pages, and that is separate from the newsroom and its reporters.

The paper believed that the cartoon was critical of Trump's rhetoric, yet the author openly denies this. So either they got it wrong or they were delighted with the tone, or at least not in disagreement.

According to the NYT, Sean Delonas, who does not intend to get off his high horse, defended his cartoon by expressing his disagreement with Karen Moses. The cartoonist stated that, while he sympathised with Moses, he disagreed with her assessment of the cartoon.

"That's not the reading I make." "I've known that MS-13 is purposely sending minors here to commit crimes. I'm pretty sure the cartels are using minors for a lot of their drug trafficking networks".

Delonas stressed that he thinks immigrants should enter the US legally and that the cartoon was published after Trump argued in his State of the Union address that undocumented immigrants "have caused the loss of innocent lives" and focused specifically on MS-13, a gang formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s by refugees fleeing El Salvador's civil war.

*I understand that the bomber with the bomb waistcoat was added as dramatic props for filler :P

For his part, Daryl Cagle, publisher of Cagle Cartoons, the agency that distributes Delonas' work, said that more than half of the paid newspapers in the United States subscribe to his company's service, but that he did not know how many newspapers had published the cartoon and in his personal capacity aligned himself with the critics.

"I am not surprised that this cartoon provoked outrage, it is up to the editor of each newspaper to decide what is appropriate to publish in their medium. My personal view is that I agree with the critics of Sean Delonas' cartoons."

In addition, Daryl has posted a note on his blog with his and Sean's opinion.

Other ruckus

Many discovered Delonas in 2009, when one of his cartoons was the subject of more than one review with repercussions in other countries. The reason was this piece published in the "Page Six" gossip section of the New York Post, murdoch's tabloid where Delonas worked from 1990 to 2013.

That cartoon on Wednesday 18 February 2009 even provoked a demonstration of some 200 people near the newsroom and received a lot of criticism from different media, groups and civil rights activists, such as Al Sharton, who claimed that the cartoon targeted Barack Obama by using a classic racist attack on African-Americans, referring to them as monkeys.

The New York Post defended that the cartoon only made reference to the gruesome event that ended with the death of Travisthe chimpanzee who was shot dead two days earlier by police in Stamford, Connecticut, after attacking, maiming and disfiguring Carla Nash.

Carla Nash was a friend of Sandra Herold, Travis's owner, and had come to help her retrieve the animal, which had escaped from the house. The tabloid had been covering this story non-stop for two days, and where there is a lot of blood, there is never a tabloid without a tabloid.

Although the paper offered an apology, they continued to maintain that "it had been misinterpreted" and that some public figures and critics of the paper had used the story to attack them and"We owe them no apology".

They insisted that the cartoon "makes a general mockery of Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Once again, Al Sharpton turns out to be nothing more than a notoriety opportunist".

Delonas used Travis's story as a topical device to tie in with a supposedly political cartoon and the text left no room for doubt, the reference to Obama was clear and direct, as was his intent.

"They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill"

One day earlier, Barack Obama had signed the "stimulus plan" (The Stimulus)

This prompted numerous accusations that the New YorkPost was resorting to an old racist slur to charge President Barack Obama and by extension African-Americans.

"Shooting down"

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) had been following Sean Delonas' cartoons and found many of them to be defamatory and anti-LGBT.

22 of those cartoons are collected in this gallery.

Although they are still easy vignettes of coarse humour, it is more than evident that they resort to the classic mantras of the ultra-Catholic ideology with its touch of homophobia, jokes lacking in subtlety appealing to the vindication of divine mandates on family and relationships.

-"Marriage licenses, New Jersey"

- "Totally illogical, Captain"

Gay Pride Parade Committee

-"If we allow these people to march, we will be the laughing stock of the community."

The sign in his hand shows a "traditional" family and the words "Family Advocacy Council"

-any suggestions?

Farewell to the New York Post

On 5 July 2013, Sean Delonas announced that he was retiring from vignetting for a few months, the next day Gawker dedicated to him a emotional farewell in which they called his work mediocre, inexplicable, a mishmash of convention, cruel, cruel, atrocious, atrocious and predictable, among other things.

They also took the opportunity to remind him that he had spent much of his 23 years drawing for the New York Post"punching or shooting down", an expression used in the trade when an author takes a swipe at the unprotected, the persecuted, the weak and tiptoes past the powerful and/or the oppressor.

For all these reasons, they also dedicated this explicit vignette to him from Jim Cooke. And even if I repeat myself, I wish all these "wars" were fought with an exchange of cartoons, no more.

-"I should have retired ages ago"

Opinion (ENG):"Albuquerque Journal hires openly racist conservative cartoonist because they thought he was being ironic" by Jameson Parker.

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