Home / Entertainment / A cartoonist inserted a vulgar anti-Trump message in his comic strip. These papers aren’t laughing.

A cartoonist inserted a vulgar anti-Trump message in his comic strip. These papers aren’t laughing.

President-Elect Donald J. Trump talks to individuals of the media after a gathering with army management on the Mar-a-Lago membership in Palm Seaside, Fla., in December 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Publish)

At first glance, Sunday’s “Non Sequitur” comic strip just showed bears dressed up like Leonardo da Vinci. The syndicated strip opens with Bear-Vinci holding a picture of a Virtruvian Bear. It ends with the ursine artist painting a Mona Lisa, who is also, you guessed it, a bear. They are all characters in the “Bearaissance,” and the format invites readers to color in the drawings.

But much like Leonardo himself, Wiley Miller, whose work often tackles politics and has occasionally drawn controversy, inserted a secret message into his latest work. Hidden at the bottom right corner of the second panel, beneath a drawing of the Italian inventor’s flying machine, a semi-legible scribble appeared to read, “Go f— yourself Trump.”

Miller has since apologized, saying he never intended for the public to see the statement. On Monday, multiple newspapers said they dropped the comic.

The Butler Eagle, a family-owned newspaper north of Pittsburgh, decided to pull the strip after an irate reader alerted the newspaper.

“One of our readers has a young daughter who reads the comics. This family sits down with this comic, and they stumble across this hidden message,” Ron Vodenichar, the paper’s publisher and general manager, told The Washington Post.

He said the newspaper has been publishing the comic for a few years and received “Non Sequitur” in a package with other syndicated comic strips that was already laid out. The decision to pull the comic, Vodenichar said, was about the profanity and “has nothing to do with who it was aimed at.”

Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson accused Miller of going “round his editors or even his personal syndicate to submit one thing he should have recognized we wouldn’t settle for.”

“We’ll don’t have any hassle discovering a greater strategy to spend the $eight,000 we might’ve paid for that strip,” Wilson mentioned.

Consistent with the cartoon’s writer, Andrews McMeel Syndication, “Non Sequitur” is going out to greater than 700 newspapers, together with The Washington Publish, which ran Sunday’s comedian in print and on-line. A spokesperson for The Publish didn’t in an instant remark.

Kansas Town-based Andrews McMeel Syndication apologized for the “vulgar language” in a remark Monday.

“We’re sorry we ignored the language in our modifying procedure,” the corporate mentioned. “If we had came upon it, we shouldn’t have dispensed the cool animated film with out it being got rid of. We express regret to ‘Non Sequitur’s’ purchasers and readers for our oversight.”

Miller, who steadily criticizes President Trump on his Twitter feed, says he forgot all concerning the scribbled profanity till Sunday.

“After I opened the paper Sunday morning and skim my cool animated film, I didn’t suppose anything else of it, as I didn’t understand the scribbling that has now stuck fireplace,” Miller mentioned in a remark to The Publish, noting that the scribble were executed a number of weeks in the past at a time when he used to be annoyed by way of a White Area motion and forgot to take away it.

“It used to be now not supposed for public intake, and I supposed to white it out prior to filing it, however forgot to. Had I supposed to make a remark to be understood by way of the readers, I might have executed so in a extra refined, refined way,” he mentioned.

However on Sunday, he nonetheless teased the “Easter egg” within the “Non Sequitur” comedian on Twitter, inviting other folks to search for a message.

GoComics.com, which hosts Miller’s comics, had changed the unique cool animated film with a model with out the Trump insult by way of Monday afternoon.

This isn’t the primary time a cartoonist has come below scrutiny for his or her political paintings within the Trump generation. Remaining yr, the Pittsburgh Publish-Gazette fired editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers, who were vital of the president in his paintings. The transfer earned a rebuke from Pittsburgh Mayor Invoice Peduto, although a spokesman for the Publish-Gazette insisted to The Publish the firing had “little to do with politics, ideology or Donald Trump.”

Editorial cartoonists comparable to Bill Bramhall, Ann Telnaes, Tom Toles, Mike Luckovich and others steadily remark at the Trump management thru their artwork.

Miller’s comics continuously lift a political message. A July 2016 comedian depicted a personality dressed in KKK gowns emblazoned with the message “I’m with Trump.”

“Non Sequitur” received the Nationwide Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award for Exceptional Cartoonist of the 12 months in 2014. Introduced in 1992, the comedian has long past thru a number of iterations since.

“I advanced the strip to enter any route my creativity would take me,” he informed The Publish in a 2014 interview. It’s “very open-ended. It’s like developing a brand new strip at all times.”

“I’m all the time seeking to push issues,” when it got here to his artwork shape, he mentioned. “I haven’t needed to express regret but.”

Miller has confronted controversy prior to for his paintings. In 2010, some newspapers made up our minds to not run considered one of his cartoons depicting Muhammad, the founding father of Islam who’s observed as a prophet and holy determine by way of individuals of the faith. (The Publish ran the version on-line however now not in print.)

“All I will do is surmise that the irony in their being afraid to run a cool animated film that satirizes media’s knee-jerk response to anything else involving Islam bounced proper in their foreheads. So what they’ve in reality completed is, unfortunately, [to] validate the purpose,” he informed The Publish on the time.

On Monday, alternatively, Miller used to be extra apologetic. “In all that point, I’ve by no means executed anything else like this, nor do I intend to take action sooner or later,” he mentioned.

His apology didn’t sway the editors on the Columbus Dispatch, who canceled the cartoon and mentioned that they “should be capable to consider that the individuals who supply content material to The Dispatch will uphold the prime requirements we’ve got set for this newspaper.”

“Wiley Miller has misplaced our consider. Subsequently, we will be able to now not submit his paintings going ahead.”

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