Members of a US-bound migrant caravan stand on a road after federal police briefly blocked their way outside the town of Arriaga, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Hundreds of Mexican federal officers carrying plastic shields had blocked the caravan from advancing toward the United States, after several thousand of the migrants turned down the chance to apply for refugee status and obtain a Mexican offer of benefits. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Last week, a heartrending photograph of a Salvadoran migrant father and his 23-month old daughter lying face down on the banks of the Rio Grande, went viral. The pair had drowned on their journey to the U.S. border.
Several days later, Canadian editorial cartoonist Michael de Adder published a sketch (below) of President Trump playing golf over their dead bodies. It depicts the President standing next to his golf cart, club in hand, gazing down at the two bodies, asking, “Do you mind if I play through?”
De Adder’s cartoon immediately went viral on social media.
— Michael de Adder (@deAdder) June 26, 2019
A couple of days later, de Adder tweeted that he’d been let go by Brunswick News Inc. “The highs and lows of cartooning. Today I was just let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick…I’ve got to admit, it hurts pretty bad. I’m a New Brunswicker.”
— Michael de Adder (@deAdder) June 28, 2019
The reality of the situation is that de Adder had “technically been under contract to work for Brunswick News Inc., and wasn’t an employee who could be fired.”
The company published a statement on Sunday which read:
It is entirely incorrect to suggest Brunswick News Inc. cancelled its freelance contract with [de Adder] due to a cartoon depicting Donald Trump. This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media. In fact, BNI was not even offered this cartoon by Mr. de Adder. The decision to bring back reader favourite Greg Perry was made long before this cartoon, and negotiations had been ongoing for weeks.
On Sunday evening, de Adder took to Twitter to share his side of the story.
But I will defend myself. And I will talk about why I think I was let go. It’s my perspective and they clearly have there perspective.
I do this reluctantly and only because I’m cornered. And I don’t know how it happened, but I feel my credibilty is on the line. And all I did was lose my job.
Does it matter if I was fired over one Donald Trump cartoon when every Donald Trump cartoon I submitted in the past year was axed?
It got to the point where I didn’t submit any Donald Trump cartoons for fear that I might be fired.
And Donald Trump doesn’t even matter. It’s a distraction from the big picture.
The Premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs is a former Irving Oil executive and any cartoon I drew that was slightly critical of him was systematically axed. You want to know why I was let go? I wanted to do my job as an editorial cartoonist, and they wanted me to do their job.
With this said, I had been giving the NB newspapers what they want for several months. Trump wasn’t on my radar. I work for canadian newspapers so there’s no need to cover Trump 24/7. And Canadian politics is quite interesting right now.
In the past 2 weeks I drew 3 Trump cartoons. 2 went viral and the third went supernova and a day later I was let go. And not only let go, the cartoons they already had in the can were not used. Overnight it was like I never worked for the paper. Make your own conclusions.
Wes Tyrell, president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists, issued a statement on Facebook. He wrote, “Michael [de Adder] 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.” Billionaire J.D. Irving has considerable business interests in the U.S.
Tyrell pointed out that trade is an important issue for President Trump and this “affects the Irvings directly. And Trump punishes those who appear to oppose him.”
Tyrell concluded by stating, “Whether the powers that be in America would make the connection between de Adder’s cartoon and Brunswick News Inc doesn’t matter.
It seems that the Irving’s don’t want to take that chance. So they cut all ties…A solid reason why an oil company has no business owning newspapers.”
The Huffington Post reported that de Adder’s fans, including Mark Hammill who called this cartoon Pulitzer Prize worthy, were outraged by his termination.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 30, 2019
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 30, 2019