Canadian artist terminated days after drawing viral Trump cartoon

A Canadian publishing company terminated its contract over the weekend with a cartoonist known for his political cartoons critical of President Trump days after his latest drawing depicting Trump standing over the bodies of drowned migrants went viral. 

Cartoonist Michael de Adder announced in a tweet late Friday that his contract with Canadian publisher Brunswick News Inc. was not renewed and that his work will no longer be published in any of the four newspapers the company owns.

{mosads}The decision not to renew de Adder’s contract after 17 years came just days after the artist posted his most recent cartoon on Twitter depicting Trump standing next to a golf cart over the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria. 

The depiction mirrored a searing photo of the two immigrants facedown in the Rio Grande after drowning in their attempt to cross the border into the U.S. The photo, captured Monday by journalist Julia Le Duc in Matamoros, Mexico, sparked widespread backlash across social media against the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policies.

De Adder wrote on Twitter that he “technically” wasn’t fired and did not link his most recent cartoon of Trump to his departure. He said the image was never slated to run in any Brunswick News-owned papers.

Wes Tyrell, president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists, said the timing of de Adder’s exit “was no coincidence.”

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,” Tyrell wrote in a post on Facebook. “Michael deAdder has drawn many well-documented cartoons on Trump, they have however, systematically never been seen in the NB papers.”

In a statement posted to Twitter, Brunswick News said it is “entirely incorrect” to suggest the company ended its contract with de Adder over the Trump cartoon.

“This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media,” the company wrote. “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.”

De Adder said he was “not a victim,” adding that his termination this was “a setback not a deathblow.”

News of de Adder’s termination came months after veteran Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers was dismissed after a string of his cartoons critical of Trump were killed.

The paper’s publisher, John Robinson Block, has contended that Rogers’s termination was due to “a personnel matter.” Block, who hired editorial director Keith Burris, has been described as a Trump supporter by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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