When cartoonist, Ted Rall, received the message directly below from the Daily Kos site administrator, and responded via a post on his blog, it is mind-boggling that he did not expect his cartoon depicting President Barack Obama as an ape to be called out as racist.
Clearly, he has a problem (not unlike many) with the president’s healthcare plan – so if he wanted to depict his feelings on this in a cartoon, (and we’re just trying to prove a point here, not say this is what we feel about the issue) why not draw a picture of say, a donkey, an “ass” so to speak…instead of an ape?
To add insult to injury, he appears offended by the site’s reprimand, as you will see in his response when he attempts to turn the tables and point to being paid by “the client” (Daily Kos) who “employed me full time” and had accepted his previous art with no problem. As we see it, the Daily Kos, as the cartoonist himself reveals, compensates any cartoonist whose submission is accepted by their site. Obviously, Mr. Rall had previously submitted acceptable work and made enough submissions that paid him enough money to freelance with them exclusively, by his own choice, not their invitation. The wordplay he demonstrates in his blog attempts to make it look as though the site made him a full-time employee; versus him simply being a cartoonist who received a fee for his contributions – not unlike the others. Hey, to each his own and all that, but we just can’t help dropping all niceties here to ask…
“Mr. Rall, what the f*ck were you thinking?”
Here’s the message that was issued from site admin . . .
” Your depiction of Barack Obama as ape-like is intolerable. Being critical of Obama, even ferociously, is not the problem. Through British and American history, blacks have been subjected to racist depictions of themselves as monkeys and apes. No excuse is acceptable for replicating that history no mater what your intent. If it happens again, your posting privileges will be suspended. ‘ ”
Then the cartoonist wrote:
“Daily Kos is a major liberal/Democratic Party blog. About a year ago, the blog began running cartoons. To their credit, they paid a modest fee for them. Many alternative political cartoonists were invited; I was not.
At the time, the owner of the blog mentioned as an aside that I would be welcome, like anyone else, to post to Daily Kos. A few weeks ago, I decided to take him up on that. Why did I post there for free? To access readers, many of whom would enjoy my work if they saw it. It was an experiment.
The experiment ended yesterday. When I went to log on, I received the above message. I clicked the acknowledgement. Which marks the end of my experiment posting to Daily Kos. I might consider altering the way I draw a political figure for a paying client. A very high-paying client. Someone who employed me full-time.
“I’m sure not going to alter my drawing style for $0.00 money. . . .”
Rall also wrote, “Anyone familiar with me and my work knows I’m not racist. My criticisms of the president are unrelated to his race, and to say otherwise in the absence of evidence is disgusting. . . .”
Despite Rall’s complaint of “censorship,” the offending cartoon remained on the Daily Kos site, with Rall’s note generating 813 comments by Tuesday afternoon. [Updated Dec. 3].
Here’s the cartoon: