Missourian newspaper owners resign over 'racist' editorial cartoon

Co-owners say they're "DISGUSTED" by cartoon published by their father, the publisher

Brian Kelly
June 10, 2020 - 10:41 am
Categories: 

WASHINGTON, MO (KMOX) - The co-owners of the Missourian newspaper have resigned over an editorial cartoon published in Wednesday's paper by the publisher/editor, William Miller Sr., who is their father.

The cartoon shows a hoodie and mask-wearing black man grabbing a white woman's purse. The woman says "Help, somebody call 911". The man says "Good luck with that lady, we defunded the police."

Susan Miller Warden and Jeanne Miller Wood issued a statement headlined "We Are Sorry" It reads in part: "On behalf of all of our employees at The Missourian we are sorry and DISGUSTED for the editorial cartoon...This does not represent the views of The Missourian staff."

They later issued a more detailed apology (seen below) which ends with: "Because we do not have the editorial control to assure our readers that this won’t happen again, we have resigned in protest. We cannot continue to work for an editor who fails to see the pain this causes and we believe this issue is too important not to take a stand."

Click here to see an image of the controversial cartoon, which was shared on Facebook.

Miller also issued an apology, reading part, "I ran a nationally syndicated editorial cartoon in the June 10 edition of The Missourian that was racially insensitive. It was poor judgement on my part and for that I sincerely apologize" Miller said that he has discontinued using cartoons by the cartoonist. 

One commentator on the newspaper's Facebook page says, "This cartoon represents why I moved away from the area. Disgusting, racist crap," and another says "People need to see you DOING SOMETHING to seriously right this wrong. Wringing your hands and saying "sorry" isn't going to cut it."

The Facebook post has since been deleted. 

They point out that the cartoon was selected by editor/publisher Bill Miller Sr. The statement ends with, "BLACK LIVES MATTER." The Missourian is based in Washington, Missouri.

Warden and Wood put out another statement on Wednesday afternoon, it states: 

We want to address the editorial cartoon that ran in the Wednesday, June 10th issue of the Washington Missourian. As co-owners we believe it was racist and in no circumstance should have been published. We apologize to our readers and our staff for the obvious pain and offense it caused. For the record, we abhor the sentiment and denounce ANY form of racism. Our core belief is that racism and inequity of any kind have no place in our society much less the editorial page of a newspaper.

It’s important for us to convey in full transparency how a cartoon like this could appear in the paper. The editorial process has been that Bill Miller, Sr., our father and publisher, made the decision to publish this syndicated cartoon without our knowledge. We saw the cartoon at the same time as our readers and were just as outraged and horrified as our staff and community. Had we known we would have vehemently fought against publishing it. We believe this is the reason we were kept in the dark about its publication.

Even more painful for us is the fact that this hits close to home because this is our father. Many families have been having these painful discussions in the privacy of their homes. We unfortunately have to have this debate in a more public way.

Because we do not have the editorial control to assure our readers that this won’t happen again, we have resigned in protest. We cannot continue to work for an editor who fails to see the pain this causes and we believe this issue is too important not to take a stand.

Black lives matter.

Susan Miller Warden

Jeanne Miller Wood

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