Mr. Potato Head. Dr Seuss. Now, Mallard Fillmore.
On Monday, Gannett announced it was canceling Mallard Fillmore, the long-running comic strip with a conservative perspective, because of a pair of cartoons critical of President Joe Biden’s promotion of transgender rights.
The decision essentially slams the door on Mallard Fillmore’s creator, Bruce Tinsley, to 261 newspapers across the country, according to The Washington Times.
Gannett objected to two cartoons that appeared in mid-February, the Times reported.
The first depicted Biden saying, “For too long, segregation sullied women’s sports. They were restricted to women! Thank goodness those dark days are over.”
In the other, Biden says, “I hear what you, the American people, want me to do … kill fossil-fuel jobs … devalue Americans’ labor … and help more transgender athletes beat the *@!# out of biological females.”
A Gannett spokeswoman denied Tinsley was canceled specifically because of Biden.
Amalie Nash, the senior vice president of local news for Gannett, said Tinsley is out because Mallard Fillmore “did not meet our standards.”
“It is inaccurate to say it was based on any anti-Biden comics,” she told the Times, “we value and publish work that showcases perspectives across the political spectrum.”
Tinsley, however, had a different take.
On Thursday, he tweeted, “Guess who ‘Cancel Culture’ got this time?…”
Tinsley told the Times that executives at his syndicator, King Features, informed him “that the two comics in question were the reason for the cancellations.”
“They further said that Gannett’s objection was not to the cartoons’ being ‘anti-Biden,’ but that they thought they were insensitive to transgender athletes who compete against biologically female ones.”
Tinsley shared that individual papers had dropped his cartoon – sometimes temporarily, sometimes for good.
But an entire mammoth chain all at once?
“My editor at my syndicate said it was unprecedented, that they had never seen that happen before,” he told the Times.
“If I could guess why a giant media corporation might want to give inquiring reporters the impression that a political comic strip was canceled because of nebulous ‘standards,’ instead of the message of particular cartoons,” he added, “I’d guess that it might be because of the recent popular backlash against a ‘Cancel Culture,’ that favors suppression of free discussion and debate over healthy, robust dialogue” – which is, he noted, “the stuff that Americans, at their best, are all about.”
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