*The news had spread on social media like wild fire…Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte had sent me a congratulatory message for receiving a lifetime achievement award in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago…little did I know that this great Swiss cartoonist I had met a couple of times in France would be told that his cartoons would be dropped by New York Times.
Not because of his own cartoons but possibly because a controversial cartoon published by NYT in its international editions. A big blow to the cartooning world. Cartoonists will always find a way to bounce back. I first saw the cartoon in question when I was in Ethiopia last May.
Was it inappropriate to use the cartoon in question? YES. It was a big debate at the recently concluded CARTOONING IN AFRICA conference in Addis Ababa. the capital of Ethiopia. I personally did not think of it as a good cartoon but offensive. The sort that could cause protests and riots in the Islamic world and beyond and a cartoon that could put the life of the cartoonist in danger.
I have seen with my eyes a cartoonist who has round the clock bodyguard because of his cartoon he published years ago.
Back to the Bibi/Trump cartoon…. was the cartoon used an excuse to drop ALL cartoons by NYT? More cartoons have been dropped in Trump’ s administration than in previous Governments. And oh yes… last April Yair Netanyahu slammed NY Times’ ‘Vile, Anti-Semitic’ Cartoon depicting His father Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump as a guide dog with a Star of David collar leading the president of the United States, shown wearing a skullcap.
The powers that be, have won the fight and cartoonists including Chappatte have paid a heavy price. African Cartoonists have had their cartoons also featured on NYT’s web site as well. Now no more. As stated with my cartoon during the Prophet Muhammed cartoon protests years back….You must know when to draw the line.
TAYO Fatunla is an award-winning Nigerian Comic Artist, Editorial Cartoonist, Writer and Illustrator. He is a graduate of the prestigious Kubert School, in New Jersey, US. and recipient of the 2018 ECBACC Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award for his illustrated OUR ROOTS creation and series – Famous people in Black History – He participated in the UNESCO’s Cartooning In Africa forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.