Kansas newspaper removes cartoon likening mask mandate to the Holocaust
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Kansas newspaper removes cartoon likening mask mandate to the Holocaust

Owner of Anderson County Review apologizes following criticism, says the imagery ‘was deeply hurtful to members of a culture who’ve been dealt plenty of hurt throughout history’

A political cartoon published July 3, 2020, by the Anderson County Review against Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's order requiring state residents to wear masks. (The Anderson County Review Facebook page via JTA)
A political cartoon published July 3, 2020, by the Anderson County Review against Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's order requiring state residents to wear masks. (The Anderson County Review Facebook page via JTA)

JTA — A weekly newspaper in Kansas has removed a political cartoon comparing Governor Laura Kelly’s order requiring state residents to wear masks to the Nazis ordering Jews to board cattle cars taking them to death camps.

The Republican Party county chairman who owns the Anderson County Review said he created the cartoon, which was posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page Friday, the day that Kelly’s order requiring face masks in public places went into effect.

The cartoon showed the Democratic governor wearing a mask with a Star of David emblazoned on it, and shows Jews getting into cattle cars in the background. “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask… and step into the cattle car,” the caption reads.

The cartoon quickly drew criticism, including from Kelly herself. “Mr. [Dane] Hicks’s decision to publish anti-Semitic imagery is deeply offensive and he should remove it immediately,” the governor said in a statement.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly answers questions from reporters about the coronavirus pandemic after a meeting with legislative leaders, July 2, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Hicks initially defended the cartoon in written comments that he posted online, saying he “intended no slight” to Jews or Holocaust survivors but would not apologize. The cartoon would run in the paper’s print edition Tuesday, he wrote.

But after a flurry of critical attention, including an extensive report in the New York Times and a condemning tweet from the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Hicks removed the cartoon Sunday afternoon.

“After some heartfelt and educational conversations with Jewish leaders in the US and abroad, I can acknowledge the imagery in my recent editorial cartoon… was deeply hurtful to members of a culture who’ve been dealt plenty of hurt throughout history,” he wrote. “To that end I am removing the cartoon with my apologies to those so directly affected. I appreciate the patience and understanding of those who convinced me to do so.”

Holocaust imagery and rhetoric have been present at protests over stay-at-home orders in several states due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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