Members of Utah’s congressional delegation issued a statement in response to this cartoon by Pat Bagley published on 9 April in The Salt Lake Tribune. They called the cartoon insulting and disgusting and called on the newspaper to immediately remove it and apologise.
U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT), John Curtis (R-UT), and Blake Moore (R-UT) issued a joint statement on The Salt Lake Tribune’s insulting “cartoon” depicting Congressman Burgess Owens (R-UT).
“The Salt Lake Tribune recently published a repugnant ‘cartoon’ comparing Congressman Burgess Owens, our esteemed colleague and only black member of the Utah delegation, to a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This racially charged, perverse political statement is beyond the pale. We ask that The Salt Lake Tribune immediately take down this horrific image, issue a formal apology, and hold themselves to a higher standard.”
It is very likely that the newspaper will neither withdraw the cartoon nor apologise, as the cartoonist claims to have the support of the journal.
“Tribune comes out in full support of my cartoon. Because it was accurate.
Shame on the Utah congressional delegation for supporting a QAnon-spouting conspiracy theorist. #utpol”.
In the first scene of the strip that has caused the ruckus, Republican Congressman Burgess Owens appears pointing angrily towards the border and it reads:
“Last week. They are comming to your neighboorhoods.”
The second recreates the same scene from the past with a KKK member holding a torch.
“70 years ago. They are comming to your neighboorhoods.”
Owens speak about “whitesplaining”
The congressman commented several times on the cartoon on Twitter:
“We have heard of “mansplaining” now we have “whitesplaining” from a white man comparing a black man, who grew up under Jim Crow laws, to the KKK. Awful tone deaf @sltrib @Patbagley. Expect an apology but I won’t hold my breathe.” (1)
“The @sltrib and @Patbagley compare me to the KKK, the radical hate group that terrorized me in my youth, because I am one of many sounding the alarm of the trauma being faced by women and children crossing the border. This is pathetic.
To which the cartoonist replied:
“My problem with @BurgessOwens, as with so many Republicans, is his promotion of dangerous conspiracy theories totally divorced from reality”.
Context of the joke
“They’re coming to your neighborhoods.” Owens made this comment in early April during an appearance on the far-right television network Newsmax on the occasion of his trip to the Mexican border in McAllen, Texas, along with other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.
“Believe me, the borders are open right now,” Owens, R-Utah, said, during his trip to McAllen, Texas. “We are seeing every single day, people coming here and within hours getting on a train or a plane and going to your neighborhood. So, no Americans, this isn’t a border issue anymore. They are coming to your neighborhoods, not knowing the language, not knowing the culture, and there is a cartel influence along the way. So be aware, don’t think this is a distance from you now, this is coming your way and it is done on purpose by a party who could care less about we the people.”
Another Bagley problem with the police and the KKK involved
In October 2020, this other cartoon by Pat Bagley published in the same Salt Lake City newspaper provoked complaints from the Utah Sheriffs’ Association, the Republican Party and other groups. They called for the image to be removed and for the newspaper and the cartoonist to retract and apologise.
“That is purely misinformation,” said Aden Batar, the director of migration and refugee services for Catholic Community Services of Utah. “The issue has been politicized. We are not seeing an influx of undocumented individuals coming to our communities here“. (Source)
In the doctor’s consulting room, a doctor and a police officer are looking at an X-ray; on the wall there is a sign reading “Intestinal parasites”.
On the lower part of the skeleton is the white hooded figure typical of the Ku Klux Klan. The doctor points to it, saying:
“Well, there´s your problem”.
On that occasion, the newspaper did not give in to pressure, did not apologise and did not withdraw the cartoon. The paper’s editor, George Pyle, took a firm stance and responded to the statement in an email to 2News.
“The cartoon was not meant to say — and, in our view, does not say — that every law enforcement officer is a white supremacist,” Pyle wrote in an email to 2News. “It does say that it is an issue that the law enforcement community should face and deal with.”.
You can read that story here.
Humour in trouble, a collection 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 been in trouble for sharing them.