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.