The artwork, by Augusta Chronicle cartoonist Rick McKee, mocks how Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former NAACP activist Rachel Dolezal and a transgender woman identify.
Last Thursday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published the cartoon, which is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. On Monday evening, the paper apologized for running the cartoon.
“While we want the Star-Telegram’s editorial page to showcase opinions from divergent points of view, we also strive to maintain a high level of respect and quality of thought,” executive editor Steve Coffman wrote.
“The cartoon we published on Oct. 18 did not fulfill that aspiration. I take full responsibility and apologize for the decision to publish it.”
Early Tuesday, the paper published some of the letters it had received in reaction to the cartoon.
“It’s hard to understand how a paper and editorial board who has no doubt called for renewed civility in the public discourse would publish the ‘Field Guide to Liberals,' ” wrote reader Noah Lambert. “Slander, racism, blatant misogyny and ignorance — all neatly wrapped in one cartoon. Congrats on denigrating your publication.”
Another reader, Erin Roark Murphy, wrote: “I expect more from a paper that has won two Pulitzer Prizes than to print a hateful graphic. This cartoon serves no purpose aside from spreading xenophobic rhetoric and ideas. Shame on the cartoonist and everyone involved in making this decision. We are better than this.”
Coffman wrote in his editor’s note: “Moving forward, we will work harder to maintain the highest standards of sensitivity and fairness on our pages that the readers of the Star-Telegram expect.”
Meanwhile, in McKee’s home newspaper, one reader, Prescott Nead of Evans, Ga., wrote: “This is an echo of the daily drumbeat of insults, bullying and belittling of women by our president and the enabling Republicans in Congress. It is also emblematic of the increasing fear that women are rising up in a ‘Pink Revolution’ to take their place in the governance of our nation.”
Added Nead: “In this ‘Me Too’ era you have grossly miscalculated the passion of women (and men) to put an end to misogynistic behavior towards women.”
In response, McKee told The Washington Post: “The cartoon speaks for itself and I stand behind it.”