Newspaper owner: Sorry for equating mask rule to Holocaust

A Republican county chairman in Kansas has apologized for posting a cartoon on his newspaper’s Facebook page that invoked the Holocaust to criticize the governor’s order requiring Kansans to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The cartoon, which was removed from the Facebook page of The Anderson County Review on Sunday, showed the state’s Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, wearing a mask emblazoned with the Star of David against a backdrop of people being loaded onto a cattle car.

“Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask … and step onto the cattle car,” read a caption on the cartoon, which was posted on Friday, the day an order by Ms. Kelly went into effect requiring Kansans to wear masks in public spaces and in places where social distancing is not possible.

The Anderson County Review is owned by Dane Hicks, the chairman of the Anderson County Republican Party. Mr. Hicks initially defended the cartoon, which he said he had made himself and planned to publish in the newspaper on Tuesday.

Credit...The Anderson County Review
“Political editorial cartoons are gross over-caricatures designed to provoke debate and response, that’s why newspapers publish them, fodder for the marketplace of ideas,” he wrote in an email. “The topic here is the governmental overreach which has been the hallmark of Governor Kelly’s administration.”

He scoffed at the idea of an apology.

“Apologies: To whom exactly?” he wrote. “The critics on the Facebook page? Facebook is a cesspool and I only participate to develop readership.” He added that he “intended no slight” to Jews or Holocaust survivors.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, however, Mr. Hicks said he had removed the cartoon and offered an apology.

“After some heartfelt and educational conversations with Jewish leaders in the U.S. and abroad,” Mr. Hicks wrote, “I can acknowledge the imagery in my recent editorial cartoon describing state government overreach in Kansas with images of the Holocaust was deeply hurtful to members of a culture who’ve been dealt plenty of hurt throughout history, people to whom I never desired to be hurtful in the illustration of my point.”

Source: nytimes