French cartoonist Plantu slams 'stupid' New York Times ban
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Acclaimed French cartoonist Jean Plantu called on the New York Times Tuesday not to ban political cartoons from its pages after a furore involving a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Humour and unsettling images are part of our democracy,” Plantu said.
Not having biting cartoons was “as stupid as asking children not to do drawings for Mothers’ Day,” he added.
L’AMÉRICAIN STEVE BANNON EST À PARIS POUR SOUTENIR MARINE LE PEN. Le dessin du Monde de ce lundi 30 mai. pic.twitter.com/u97KX0sdljPLANTU (@plantu) May 20, 2019
It depicted Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind Donald Trump wearing a kippah Jewish skullcap.
The more I think about the @nytimes “cartoon,” the more appalled I am.David Harris (@DavidHarrisAJC) April 27, 2019
While #Antisemitism is rising...synagogues are attacked & Jews killed...democratic #Israel is demonized...& Jewish institutions are forced to bolster security...
The “paper of record” pours oil on the fire. pic.twitter.com/8FUAEKCagK
Opinion page editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to stop running political cartoons which already no longer appear in the US edition.
From next month it will no longer run political cartoons, Bennet said Monday.
Threat to freedom of opinion
Plantu, chief cartoonist of France’s Le Monde daily, said he was “worried about the future of our democracies and freedom of opinion” adding “one cannot imagine a newspaper without political caricatures.”
Reporters Without Borders have thrown their weight behind the drive.
Patrick Chappatte, one of the Times’ leading cartoonists, said the newspaper’s decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon.
He condemned the publication of that caricature but said he was concerned that media outlets were increasingly buckling under political pressure and criticism from “moralistic mobs” on social media.
The NYT really did fail this time. Decision to not run political cartoons by @nytopinion is spineless. We need @PatChappatte and political humor-- now more than ever! Let the Times know--> email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/B2YpvK8KDJMatt Wuerker (@wuerker) June 10, 2019
“Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists... lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying,” Chappatte wrote on his website.
Plantu said that he supported both “Antonio who has been censored by the New York Times... and Chappatte, who is an immense talent.”