The cartoonist behind a viral image of President Donald Trump callously golfing next to the bodies of a father and toddler daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande river into the United States lost his freelance contract with a newspaper publisher — but the publisher denies the cartoon had anything to do with the decision.
The Canadian cartoonist, Michael de Adder, noted that Trump asking the dead border crossers, "Do you mind if I play through?" was "more delusional and dismissive of reality" and that in "real life" the president would "be more rude."
What's the background?
The cartoon is based on a recent photograph showing the bodies of El Salvadorian father Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria. Ramirez swam across the river with his daughter June 26, left her on the bank, then swam back to get his wife. But when the girl reentered the water, Ramirez turned back — then they both were swept away in the current.
For many, the chilling photo encapsulated the plight of illegal immigrants. Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke notably blamed Trump for what happened to the father and daughter, saying he was "responsible for these deaths."
Two days after de Adder posted his cartoon, he noted on Twitter that he "was just let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick." On Saturday, he added that "I'm still successfully drawing cartoons for other publications. I just need to recoup a percentage of my weekly income and get used to the idea I no longer have a voice in my home province."
What did the publisher have to say?
Brunswick Media Inc. said Sunday the notion that it canceled de Adder's freelance contract because of the Trump cartoon is a "false narrative" and that the cartoon in question was never offered to the publisher and that a decision to bring back a different cartoonist had been in the works for weeks.
BMI owns the majority of major print media outlets in New Brunswick, Fox News reported, including three daily newspapers and 21 English and French-language weeklies.
What did the president of a Canadian cartoonists' group have to say?
Wes Tyrell, president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists, noted Saturday that the timing of de Adder's contract cancellation "was no coincidence" and that de Adder cartooning about Trump was a "taboo" subject for BMI since its owners have corporate interests at stake related to trade.
Tyrell added that deAdder's Trump golfing cartoon "hit a nerve. It went viral and social media stars like George Takei even shared it. For a brief period de Adder was the poster boy for the Anti-Trump movement. A good place to be if you're a cartoonist, but a bad place to be if you work for a foreign oil company with business ties to the United States."