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August 4, 2014


Sydney Morning-Herald Apologized For Glen Le Lievre Cartoon About Gaza That Was Accused Of Racism

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I'm having a hard time finding a unique angle to the story of the Sydney Morning-Herald apologizing earlier today for a July 26 cartoon by Glen Le Lievre depicting an old man watching destruction in Gaza with a remote control. It seems a pretty straight-forward publication-complaint-consideration-apology story. What tends to happen in these cases is that there's an argument made that what's being censured is the political thought, not any depiction; that's also happened here, as some have noted the cartoon was placed next to an article critical of Israel, while some of the complaints appeared in more general media critiques of coverage.

The central complaint specifically aimed at the cartoon focused on the physical depiction of the old man. A group called the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies accused the newspaper of "racial vilification" and threatened legal action; the anti-defamation wing of B'nai B'rith also expressed interest in pursuing legal redress. Jewish community leaders and opinion makers more generally had disparaged the cartoon and suggested a boycott of the paper. The initial defense of the piece stressed that Le Lievre draws old men generally using some of the elements of caricature that were criticized in this cartoon; the newspaper repeated this argument in defending the cartoon from the worst accusations even while apologizing for the decision to publish. The cartoonist counts MAD and The New Yorker as freelance clients, but I believe is most strongly affiliated with the SMH publications.
 
posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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