Major Newspaper Pulls Cartoon Critical of Obama’s Immigration Reform After Many Call It ‘Racist’

After the Indianapolis Star published a political cartoon on Friday that was decidedly against President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration reform, the paper’s executive editor Jeff Taylor said many readers were offended and called it “racist.”

So on Saturday the Star pulled the political cartoon by Gary Varvel. Taylor said Varvel “did not intend to be racially insensitive in his attempt to express his strong views” about the issue but added that “we erred in publishing it.”

More from Taylor’s column in the Star:

The cartoon depicted an immigrant family climbing through a window of a white family’s home as Thanksgiving dinner was served. I was uncomfortable with the depiction when I saw it after it was posted. We initially decided to leave the cartoon posted to allow readers to comment and because material can never truly be eliminated once it is circulating on the web. But we are removing the cartoon from the opinion section of our website, as well as an earlier version posted on Facebook that showed one character with a mustache.

The second version of the cartoon showed the character without a mustache, but every other element appeared the same as the first version.

“This action is not a comment on the issue of illegal immigration or a statement about Gary’s right to express his opinions strongly,” Taylor continued. “We encourage and support diverse opinion. But the depictions in this case were inappropriate; his point could have been expressed in other ways.”

More from Taylor:

Cartoons are seldom intended to be read literally. And Gary did not intend this one to be viewed that way. He intended to illustrate the view of many conservatives and others that the president’s order will encourage more people to pour into the country illegally.

The illegal immigration issue evokes strong opinions and emotions. And it’s important to encourage a vigorous public debate on issues of this magnitude, but with respectful discourse. That is what we believe at IndyStar and that is what we will continue to do – to publish views from all sides as we explore the important issues that will define the future of our nation, state and city.

This story has been updated.

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