A Canadian cartoonist was let go from his job on Friday after posting what became a viral illustration of Donald Trump playing golf over the bodies of two drowned migrants.
Michael de Adder’s image, which depicts the now-infamous photo of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter face down in the Rio Grande, wrote on Twitter that Brunswick News Inc. informed him on Friday it would not be renewing his contract after 17 years. He received the news two days after he published the cartoon.
Coincidence? Depends on who you ask. Brunswick News Inc. released a statement on Sunday saying it was “entirely incorrect to suggest” that de Adder’s contract was canceled over the Trump cartoon. Per CNN:
“This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media,” the publishing company wrote. It said that de Adder never offered the Trump cartoon to the company and had already decided to “bring back” another cartoonist it said was popular with readers. “[N]egotiations had been ongoing for weeks,” it stated.
But Wes Tyrell, who identified himself as the president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists, wrote on Facebook that the decision to cut ties with de Adder was not a coincidence:
“Michael told me once that not only were the J.D. Irving-owned New Brunswick newspapers challenging to work for, but there were a series of taboo subjects he could not touch. One of these taboo subjects was Donald Trump.
Michael [de Adder] has drawn many well-documented cartoons on Trump, they have however, systematically never been seen in the NB papers.”
De Adder clarified that he was not technically “fired” from the newspaper group, since he was a freelancer under contract.
Still, the whole thing unfolded about a year after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fired longtime editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers, purportedly for his anti-Trump work, and a few weeks after the New York Times stopped publishing political cartoons altogether after running an anti-Semitic illustration.