‘News’ stops run­ning car­toon af­ter hid­den in­sult

Sun­day’s ‘Non Se­quitur’ in­cluded hid­den vul­gar in­sult aimed at Trump

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - By DOM DIFURIO Staff Writer ddi­fu­[email protected]­las­news.com

The Dal­las Morn­ing News will stop run­ning a car­toon­ist who em­bed­ded an in­sult­ing ex­ple­tive to­ward Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in an ed­i­to­rial car­toon that ap­peared in hun­dreds of news­pa­pers last week­end.

The Dal­las Morn­ing News will stop run­ning a car­toon­ist who em­bed­ded an in­sult­ing ex­ple­tive to­ward Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in an ed­i­to­rial car­toon that ap­peared in hun­dreds of news­pa­pers last week­end.

The car­toon by Wi­ley Miller, the artist be­hind the widely dis­trib­uted Non Se­quitur car­toon strip, de­picted a seem­ing­

ly harm­less bear in the like­ness of Leonardo Davinci. The bear is shown re­cre­at­ing Davinci’s fa­mous works with bears as the char­ac­ters.

The vul­gar state­ment di­rected at the pres­i­dent can be found writ­ten al­most un­in­tel­li­gi­bly at the bot­tom right­hand cor­ner of the sec­ond of three pan­els. “We fondly say go [ex­ple­tive] your­self Trump,” the panel said. It set off a back­lash on so­cial me­dia that started Sun­day night.

Mike Wil­son, edi­tor of The News, said the news­pa­per had pub­lished plenty of Miller’s con­tro­ver­sial comics, but this one went too far.

“We don’t mind po­lit­i­cal commentary in comics, as long as we have a chance to vet it and it meets our stan­dards for pub­li­ca­tion,” Wil­son said. “Un­for­tu­nately, this time the artist de­cided to go around his ed­i­tors and even his own syn­di­cate to pub­lish some­thing he must have known we wouldn’t ac­cept. We can’t trust him, so we are done with Non Se­quitur.”

Wil­son called it one of “the eas­ier edit­ing de­ci­sions we will make all year. We’ll have no trou­ble find­ing a bet­ter way to spend the $8,000 we would’ve paid for that strip.”

In a tweet Sun­day night, Miller urged read­ers to look for the re­mark. “Some of my sharp­eyed read­ers have spot­ted a lit­tle Easter egg from Leonardo Bear­vinci. Can you find it?” Miller wrote.

The ver­sion of the comic strip hosted Mon­day on GoComics.com doesn’t in­clude the con­tro­ver­sial state­ment. Im­age pre­views cre­ated when a link is shared on mes­sag­ing or so­cial me­dia sites show the car­toon with the con­tro­ver­sial state­ment, sug­gest­ing the words were likely re­moved af­ter be­ing pub­lished on GoComics.com. The car­toon pub­lished in The News on Sun­day con­tained the of­fen­sive phrase.

The syn­di­cate that dis­trib­utes Miller’s car­ton, An­drews Mcmeel, took the blame for not catch­ing the phrase in its edit­ing process. The syn­di­cate said it would have in­sisted on the phrase’s re­moval.

Miller re­leased his own state­ment, say­ing he cre­ated the strip about eight weeks ago and never in­tended to let it pub­lish with the vul­gar sen­ti­ment.

“I now re­mem­ber that I was par­tic­u­larly ag­gra­vated that day about some­thing the pres­i­dent had done or said, and so I lashed out in a rather sopho­moric man­ner as in­stant ther­apy,” he said. “It was NOT in­tended for pub­lic con­sump­tion, and I meant to white it out be­fore sub­mit­ting it, but for­got to. Had I in­tended to make a state­ment to be un­der­stood by the read­ers, I would have done so in a more sub­tle, so­phis­ti­cated man­ner.”

Miller said he has been draw­ing the car­toon for 27 years and “in all that time, I have never done any­thing like this, nor do I in­tend to do so in the fu­ture.”

The But­ler Ea­gle news­pa­per in Penn­syl­va­nia dropped the strip from reg­u­lar pub­li­ca­tion Mon­day af­ter hear­ing from an­gry read­ers, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the pa­per’s pub­lisher and gen­eral man­ager Ron Vo­denichar.

“We apol­o­gize that such a dis­gust­ing trick was per­pet­u­ated on the read­ing pub­lic. The But­ler Ea­gle will dis­con­tinue that comic im­me­di­ately,” Vo­denichar said.

The News was among four or five news­pa­pers that had dropped the car­toon by Mon­day af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to a spokesper­son for An­drews Mcmeel.

While it may not show in his comics, Miller’s dis­dain for the pres­i­dent is ev­i­dent from his Twit­ter ac­count. Miller reg­u­larly tweets state­ments that in­clude vul­gar words di­rected at the pres­i­dent.

The Dal­las Morn­ing News had pub­lished Miller’s Non Se­quitur car­toon strip daily. In 2014, Wi­ley won the Na­tional Car­toon­ists So­ci­ety’s Reuben Award for Out­stand­ing Car­toon­ist of the Year.

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