So what happened to Canadian editorial cartoonist Michael de Adder? That’s the mystery going around the media community this week. He announced on Twitter over the weekend that he had been cut off from publishing in some of the newspapers owned by Brunswick News Inc., where his work has appeared.
— Michael de Adder (@deAdder) June 28, 2019
The decision came two days after a seriously awful cartoon he drew suddenly went viral on social media. It depicted President Trump standing by a golf cart, looking down at the bodies of the illegal immigrant father and daughter who recently drowned while attempting to cross the river to reach our border. The President is asking, “Mind if I play through?” People immediately began to speculate that he’d lost his position because of that drawing. (USA Today)
A Canadian political cartoonist announced he was let go just two days after his illustration of President Donald Trump standing over the bodies of a drowned migrant father and daughter went viral on social media.
Michael de Adder tweeted Friday that he had been let go from his freelance contract with Canadian newspaper publishing company Brunswick News Inc. The announcement came after de Adder shared his June 26 drawing that depicts Trump standing next to a golf cart and looking down at the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria…
“I’ve got to admit, it hurts pretty bad. I’m a New Brunswicker,” de Adder said on Twitter. “I loved drawing cartoons for my home province. I’m a proud New Brunswicker. I will survive.”
It was absolutely a disgusting cartoon, but not really that much more shocking than other work that’s been published, particularly during this administration. Political cartoonists frequently go for shock value as a way of generating buzz and growing their audience. And as much as I might have found it offensive, it rankles to see someone lose their job over it.
But is that really what happened? This is where the mystery comes in. First, notice that de Adder made no mention of the Trump cartoon when he announced he had been let go. He certainly left the question open for others to make that assumption, but he didn’t claim it himself.
Second, he wasn’t employed by either of the newspapers in question. He’s a freelance artist and had a contract with the publishers to submit cartoons on that basis. So he wasn’t technically “fired.”
But the biggest item is the flat denial from Brunswick News. They released a statement saying that they had never been offered that cartoon by de Adder and that their termination of his contract had been in the works for weeks. They had been negotiating with another cartoonist, Greg Perry, and had already extended an offer to him.
That position is contradicted by the president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists, however. He claims that Brunswick News is “hard to work for” and that they have a variety of taboo subjects they don’t want their editorial cartoonists to touch, including Donald Trump. So what’s the truth here? I suppose we’ll never know for sure, given the “he said, he said” nature of the debate, but the timing certainly does seem suspicious.