Newspaper cuts ties with cartoonist

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An editorial cartoon appeared in the Thursday, June 11 edition of The Courier-Times that should not have been published. For that I apologize.
The image depicting a black man stealing the purse of a white woman was insensitive and leads some to the belief that this newspaper supports racist views. That is not the case.
In fact, we believe quite the opposite. People in Roxboro over the past few weeks have taken the high road in discussing issues of race and community relationships with police in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
We have reported on, photographed and interviewed a number of people who organized and participated in those events and it is my expectation that we will continue to do the same going forward.
In this case my judgment fell short. I should have seen beyond the printed words in the editorial cartoon and considered the racial message that cartoon sent. I did not and I am sorry.
In talking with a number of people this week, it is clear to me that I failed to do my job adequately.
Among the comments I made to some of my callers and visitors, I said that there is a lesson to be learned from the decision that I made.
That lesson is this: I must do a better job of vetting the stories and images that appear in this newspaper. With regard to items that appear on our opinion page, I must consider both the implied and indirect messages that are being delivered. In the case of this cartoon, the implied message was the wrong message to send.
We have decided to cut ties with the editorial cartoonist who provided the offensive cartoon and readers will not see his images or opinions on our editorial pages from this point on. Beyond that, I bear responsibility for having selected the cartoon for publication.
I understand that there have been a lot of conversations taking place on social media regarding this cartoon and many of you have taken the time to call me, email me or message us on Facebook. We are grateful for the feedback because it drives home the point that what we do matters.
It is a serious public trust and it is never our intention to violate that trust. In this case we have.
We will work to rebuild that trust and I hope that you will continue to read this newspaper. It is my intention that the news pages of this newspaper will be free of opinion and that the opinions voiced in this paper fully represent our values and mores.
I have heard the message from readers and others around the state who were offended by this cartoon. I, too, am offended by the message it implies and it upsets me that I did not catch the implications before we published it. Having said that, I encourage you to write us or call us with your perspectives on any of the news and opinion you read in this newspaper.

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