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Arizona

Cartoonist fired, student newspaper apologizes for anti-gay cartoon

Change.org petition calls for Editor's dismissal as well
Thursday, October 18, 2012

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Daily Wildcat, the student-run daily newspaper at the University of Arizona, has issued an apology and fired the cartoonist after publishing an editorial cartoon that critics said advocated violence against LGBT people.

In the apology published Wednesday, editor Kristina Bui wrote that “the Daily Wildcat staff made a serious error in judgment in printing a cartoon that some readers felt was homophobic and inappropriate.”

“The ‘etc.’ cartoon in question illustrated a parent threatening their child if he ever came out, and the two characters joke about the threat. We agree with the criticism we’ve met, and we apologize. The comic was not funny,” wrote Bui.

The cartoon, by UA student D.C. Parsons, was published Tuesday and featured a father telling his young son, “If you ever tell me you’re gay … I will shoot you with my shotgun, roll you up in a carpet and throw you off of a bridge.”

Parsons has also apologized, and wrote that “the comic was not intended to offend.”

It was based on an experience from my childhood. My father is a devout conservative from a previous generation, and I believe he was simply distraught from the fact that I had learned (from “The Simpsons”) what homosexuality was at such a young age.

I have always used humor as a coping mechanism, much like society does when addressing social taboos. I do not condone these things; I simply don’t ignore them. I do sincerely apologize and sympathize with anyone who may be offended by my comics (I am often similarly offended by “Ralph and Chuck”), but keep in mind it is only a joke, and what’s worse than a joke is a society that selectively ignores its problems.

The Wildcat said it is now reviewing its editorial policies and terminated Parsons’ employment as of Wednesday.

“His views do not represent the views of the Wildcat staff, nor does the Wildcat represent the views of the university,” Bui wrote.

But reader response has been harsh and a Change.org petition calling for Parsons’ dismissal is also calling for the Editor-in-Chief and Copy Editor to be fired as well.

Bui’s apology makes no mention as to who reviewed or approved publishing the cartoon. The petition calling for her firing has received over 4,000 signatures.

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23 more reader comments:

  1. Well, he did apologize.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:54pm
  2. catoon was not funny .and was meant to hurt people

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:58pm
  3. well that’s the mentality of a lot of people out there

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:58pm
  4. “I sympathize with anyone who may be offended…” like the entire thinking universe? Good that he’s fired; apology not accepted.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:58pm
  5. Come on… that was funny. Is it necessary to try to destroy anyone who even crosses their eyes at the LGBT community? Who is next? Daniel Tosh? Geez.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:00pm
  6. Some one other than the cartoonist had something to do with this being published. The Editor has taken no real responsibility for green lighting the cartoon. If she didn’t, another editor did. She’s letting the cartoonist take the fall.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:02pm
  7. Actually — in this case Curtis, yes it is. Not at a university, not in Arizona, not anywhere. And if he’s “destroyed” by being fired (not by being raped, or beaten, or shot, mind you), he needs to rethink his career choices.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:03pm
  8. How is threatening Gay children with murder funny? Disgusting.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:07pm
  9. Keep the cartoonist, fire the editor.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:07pm
  10. Actually, the Editor or Publisher should be held accountable for allowing the cartoon to get to printing.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:09pm
  11. wow that was such a offensive cartoon im very offend

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:13pm
  12. The cartoonist is just as responsible, he made the freaking thing.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:13pm
  13. Chris H, just my opinion but i think both should be fired / let go. Shame on them for the hate / intolerance. God bless them to learn to love all people especially the LGBT community. thanks Timothy C. Mobley

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:15pm
  14. Agreed. Everyone should be accountable. This isn’t funny at all.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:16pm
  15. If the cartoonist is fired, so should the editor.. they gave final word to print it.. just as guilty.. well even more so IMHO… They are supposed to be trained in judgement and have a better understanding of what is right and wrong… slap on the wrist for the cartoonist, firing for the editor for allowing it to go thru.. THey obviously have no clue hwo to be an effective editor.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:41pm
  16. Could that be anymore offensive?

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:45pm
  17. John I agree. The editor puts the final stamp of approval on it before it goes to be published. The Editor should go. Also the cartoonist said it was not meant to be offended? What else could it have been meant for. This person does not have a since of humor I want around.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 8:25pm
  18. Simple,both the editor and cartoonist should be fired.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 8:29pm
  19. You know, I was offended by the cartoon as well. However, after reading the cartoonist’s apology, I can see, from his point of view, how it was meant more as satire.
    The truth of the matter is, many people actually think that way (as in the cartoon). They may also have that type of relationship with their children, to use sarcasm to express their opinion. The was more of an inside joke for him and his own father.
    I don’t condone this but I also agree that he should not have been terminated for being thoughtless. If thoughtless was ground for termination, most of us would be on the unemployment line.
    I suspect everyone involved has regret and it should have been left at that. He’ll go on in life as a cartoonist but because of this, he’ll have difficulty finding a job. I don’t believe he deserved that. Punishment? Yes. This harsh? No

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 11:59pm
  20. Here is the petition for a change of staff within the newspaper. http://www.change.org/petitions/daily-wildcat-fire-your-cartoonist-editor-in-chief-and-copy-editor

    Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 12:21am
  21. Wow, that’s not even a good gay joke. Triple shame on them.

    Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 12:39am
  22. Okay maybe its just my dark sense of humor but I did find out a little funny. It was exaggerated to show the exaggerated reactions towards gay people sometimes. The kids reaction to me is not meant to savage the joke but to show an innocent kids reaction to such an extreme comment.

    Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 3:19am
  23. Salvage*

    Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 3:20am