Editor-in-chief: Cartoonist has "history of controversial" comic - Tucson News Now

Editor-in-chief: Cartoonist has "history of controversial" comics

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On Wednesday night the University of Arizona's student-run newspaper posted an apology regarding a cartoon that ran in their daily newspaper on Oct. 16, 2012.

The cartoon included a depiction of a parent telling his son that "if you ever tell me you're gay, I will shoot you with my shotgun and roll you up in a carpet and throw you off a bridge..." 

Here is the full statement posted on the Arizona Daily Wildcat website. It reads in part:

"On Tuesday, the Wildcat staff made a serious error in judgment in printing a cartoon that some readers felt was homophobic and inappropriate. The views of individual staff members do not represent the views of the Wildcat, nor does the Wildcat reflect the views of the UA. However, printing the cartoon was irresponsible to our readers. We apologize."

Kristina Bui is in her first semester as the Daily Wildcat's editor in chief.

"The Wildcat's biggest mistakes tend to happen when we're rushing to meet a deadline," Bui, a senior, said.

Bui said she was in a rush, saw the cartoon and knew the cartoonist engaged in satire.

"I considered it from the artist's point of view and not the readers' and that was a mistake," Bui said.

Here is a statement from D.C. Parsons, "etc." cartoonist for the Daily Wildcat:

"My name is D.C. Parsons, and I would like to formally apologize to anyone who I may have offended in my comic "etc." on Tuesday. The comic was not intended to offend. The desired end means of my work is solely humorous.

"It was based on an experience from my childhood. My father is a devout conservative from a previous generation, and I believe he was simply distraught from the fact that I had learned (from "The Simpsons") what homosexuality was at such a young age.

"I have always used humor as a coping mechanism, much like society does when addressing social taboos. I do not condone these things; I simply don't ignore them. I do sincerely apologize and sympathize with anyone who may be offended by my comics (I am often similarly offended by "Ralph and Chuck"), but keep in mind it is only a joke, and what's worse than a joke is a society that selectively ignores its problems."

The Wildcat editorial staff, all University of Arizona students, will discuss ways to keep this from happening again.

Changes being considered include having at least three managers look at the cartoon page before it is printed.

Another is to stop leaving the page until the last minute.

A petition was started online to fire the "cartoonist, editor-in-chief, and copy editor."  

Bui said, "People absolutely have the right to petition. I don't believe my resignation would help the Wildcat. I believe it would only sweep my mistake under the rug and make it easier to repeat in the future."

 Mark Woodhams, Director of Student Media at the UA, made the following statement regarding the Wildcat: 

"The University of Arizona does not exercise editorial control. The biggest reason is legal.  Students have a First Amendment right to produce their own paper.  Part of the responsibility of students is to be able to explain their decisions and actions." 

Bui said, "He has a history of controversial cartoons. I was not aware of that when I hired him. It's fair to distance the Wildcat from him at least for this semester. He's free to apply for next semester."

The other cartoons Bui is referring to include offensive language regarding the Mormon religion and reference to domestic violence. 

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