Canadian cartoonist Michael de Adder has had his freelance contract with a publishing company cancelled due, he believes, to his depiction of Donald Trump attempting to “play through” on a golf course despite the drowned bodies of migrants Oscar Alberto Martinez and Angie Valeria lying in his path. The company, Brunswick News Inc, deny the sacking was in any way connected to the Trump cartoon, and I have no evidence to suggest otherwise. Yet there is certainly a wider narrative, and seemingly a growing trend, for cartoonists losing their jobs – or worse – for the crime of having caused offence.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a cartoonist has been warned off drawing something that his editor thinks might displease “The Donald”. In this country, politicians – if they were smart – used to ask to buy the original of any particularly hurtful cartoon, thus both drawing the sting and irritating the cartoonist immensely. This seems to have become rarer in recent years, though whether that says more about modern cartoons or modern politicians I’ll let you decide.
Autocratic regimes are an altogether different kettle of fascists. David Low’s wartime cartoons earned him a place on the Nazis’ “death list”,