Newspaper Drops Cartoonist Who Hid “Go F*** Yourself Trump” Comment on Kids’ Coloring Page
A Pennsylvania newspaper has discontinued a syndicated comic strip after a cartoon published Sunday included a hidden message telling President Trump to go “f— yourself.”
A syndicated cartoon has been dropped from a local newspaper in Pennsylvania after a reader spotted an obscene comment made against President Donald Trump hidden in a drawing on the children’s coloring page published inside Sunday’s comics section.
The sentiment was pointed out to the Butler Eagle by a reader, according to the newspaper’s publisher and general manager, Ron Vodenichar.
“A reader brought to our attention that one of the syndicated comic strips which appears in the Sunday Butler Eagle may contain a hidden message which was apparently placed there by someone in the creative department of the creator of the comic strip or the syndication which controls it,” Vodenichar said. “Neither the Butler Eagle nor any other newspaper that includes this strip had an opportunity to remove it even if they had discovered it before distribution.”
The remark, which said, “We fondly say go f— yourself Trump,” was scrawled in the lower right corner of the Non Sequitur cartoon, which encouraged readers to color it in themselves, by cartoonist Wiley Miller, according to the newspaper.
Twitter user Fran Warren shared an image of the strip with the derogatory comment circled in red. “Here is the image of the Non Sequitur comic strip. With the oh-so clever Trump insult,” Warren wrote.
Here is the image of the Non Sequitur comic strip.— Fran Warren (@FranWarren) February 11, 2019
With the oh-so clever Trump insult pic.twitter.com/rlHwKqbHFj
“A sharp-eyed Butler Eagle reader alerted the newspaper of what appears to be a vulgar shot at President Donald Trump … and it will cost the cartoonist his place in the Eagle’s Sunday comics,” the Butler Eagle’s publisher wrote on the Eagle’s website.
“Almost disbelief,” said Vodenichar when he learned that his newspaper had printed that cartoon. “I just couldn’t belief that any professional would do just a thing.”
“We apologize that such a disgusting trick was perpetuated on the reading public. The Butler Eagle will discontinue that comic immediately,” Vodenichar added.
The Andrews McMeel Syndicate that distributed Wiley’s cartoon also apologized.
“We are sorry we missed the language in our editing process,” the Kansas City-based company said. “If we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed. We apologize to Non Sequitur’s clients and readers for our oversight.”
The cartoonist who drew the strip, Wiley Miller, won the Rueben Award in 2014, for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year by the National Cartoonists Society, the most prestigious prize in cartooning. Also, Non Sequitur has won four National Cartoonists Society divisional awards.
On Sunday, the 67-year-old cartoonist acknowledged in a tweet that there was a “little Easter egg” from the cartoon’s character, Leonardo Bear-Vinci.
“Some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg from Leonardo Bear-Vinci. Can you find it?” he wrote.
Late on Monday, though, Wiley apologized, saying the comment was a mistake and that “the obscenity slipped his mind.”
“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. It was NOT intended for public consumption, and I meant to white it out before submitting it, but forgot to,” Miller assured.
“When I opened the paper Sunday morning and read my cartoon, I didn’t think anything of it, as I didn’t notice the scribbling that has now caught fire,” Miller told the Washington Post. He said he wrote the remarks several weeks ago when he was angry at the White House and forgot to delete it.
This is not the first newspaper – not even the first one in Pennsylvania – to drop an anti-Trump cartoonist in the Trump era. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fired its long-time cartoonist, Rob Rogers, after it refused to run some of his anti-Trump cartoons. However, even Rogers considered that Miller crossed the line.
“While I agree with his politics and his sentiments certainly, I don’t necessarily think that was the best use of it,” said Rogers, who had been with the Post-Gazette for 25 years.
The Non Sequitur cartoon strip is published in more than 700 newspapers across the nation, according to the Andrews McMeel Syndication website.