More newspapers drop comic strip over hidden 'go f--- yourself' aimed to Trump

At least a dozen newspapers have pulled a syndicated comic strip after learning a cartoon included a hidden insult aimed at President Trump

The comic strip, "Non Sequitur," on Sunday appeared to simply show bears dressed up as Leonardo da Vinci. But The Butler Eagle, a newspaper in Pennsylvania, said Monday that it had discontinued to the strip after being alerted to a hidden message by an irate reader.

The strip, which encouraged readers to color in an image, appeared to include the message in the bottom-right corner: “We fondly say go f--- yourself to Trump.”

“We apologize that such a disgusting trick was perpetuated on the reading public,” Ron Vodenichar, publisher and general manager of the Eagle, said on the paper’s website. “The Butler Eagle will discontinue that comic immediately.”

Andrews McMeel Syndication, which publishes the comic strip, confirmed to The Washington Post on Tuesday that at least a dozen newspapers had elected to drop the strip over the hidden insult. 

The syndicator apologized on Monday for not catching the "vulgar language" in the editing process. 

“We are sorry we missed the language in our editing process,” the company said in a statement, according to the Post. “If we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed. We apologize to ‘Non Sequitur’s’ clients and readers for our oversight.”

The cartoonist who drew the strip, Wiley Miller, told the Post that he had forgotten about the scribbled message until it was published. He added that he wrote the phrase several weeks ago when he was frustrated by the Trump administration's actions. 

“When I opened the paper Sunday morning and read my cartoon, I didn’t think anything of it, as I didn’t notice the scribbling that has now caught fire,” Miller, a frequent Trump critic, said. "It was not intended for public consumption, and I meant to white it out before submitting it, but forgot to. Had I intended to make a statement to be understood by the readers, I would have done so in a more subtle, sophisticated manner."

Miller on Sunday teased the comic strip by saying in a now-deleted tweet there was an “Easter egg" in the image. 

The "Non Sequitur" comic strip is published in more than 700 newspapers in the U.S.