TRUMP SATIRE: Sacked viral cartoonist’s one mistake
Michael de Adder - the Canadian cartoonist at the centre of a global censorship scandal - has opened up about his sensational, public "fight" with his employer.
Mr de Adder, from the Canadian province of New Brunswick, made headlines around the world this week after his contract with a Canadian media company was terminated just 24 hours after he released a cartoon criticising US President Donald Trump.
His confronting sketch shows the American leader standing by a golf buggy alongside the bodies of a man and young girl.
In the cartoon, the President asks them, "Do you mind if I play through?"
It is a controversial reference to El Salvador migrant Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria. They both drowned last week in the Rio Grande while attempting to cross the Mexico-US border.
Mr de Adder shared the drawing on Twitter on June 27, the same day the news of the migrants' deaths broke.
It immediately went viral - but the next day, he was informed his contract with four Canadian publications - the Moncton Times Transcript, Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Telegraph-Journal and Telegraph Journal Saint John - was terminated.
All four are owned by Brunswick News Inc, a company privately owned by billionaire businessman James K Irving.
Now Mr de Adder has opened up about the stoush, telling HuffPost Canada rumours he was fired directly because of the Trump cartoon were "hitting it on the nose".
And yesterday, he took to Twitter to share more thoughts on the situation.
He said until now, he had always maintained a professional, respectful relationship with editors he admired and those he "thought they were jack*sses".
But he said he now felt "cornered" and forced to speak out and defend himself.
"I do this reluctantly and only because I'm cornered. And I don't know how it happened, but I feel my credibility is on the line. And all I did was lose my job," he wrote in one tweet.
He said there was a clear editorial directive within the company to avoid publishing material critical of Mr Trump, and "it got to the point where I didn't submit any Donald Trump cartoons for fear that I might be fired."
He said any Trump-themed cartoons he submitted were "axed" - although in the past fortnight, he happened to draw three Trump cartoons - two that went viral, while one (the cartoon in question) went "supernova".
The Premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs is a former Irving Oil executive and any cartoon I drew that was slightly critical of him was systematically axed. You want to know why I was let go? I wanted to do my job as an editorial cartoonist, and they wanted me to do their job.— Michael de Adder (@deAdder) July 1, 2019
" … and a day later I was let go. And not only let go, the cartoons they already had in the can were not used. Overnight it was like I never worked for the paper. Make your own conclusions," he wrote in another tweet.
However, he said the debate over Mr Trump was irrelevant and a "distraction from the big picture" - owners of his former company regularly censoring editorial content.
"The Premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs is a former Irving Oil executive, and any cartoon I drew that was slightly critical of him was systematically axed. You want to know why I was let go? I wanted to do my job as an editorial cartoonist, and they wanted me to do their job," he said.
The Irvings are one of the richest families in Canada, and they own most of the newspapers in New Brunswick.
They also own a range of companies in the oil and gas, shipping and transport industries.
Please see the attached statement issued today by Brunswick News Inc. regarding incorrect information on social media about BNI's freelance contract with cartoonist Michael de Adder. pic.twitter.com/173SSPMJYs— Telegraph-Journal (@TJProvincial) June 30, 2019
Meanwhile, the company has released a public statement denying Mr de Adder was sacked because of his cartoon.
"It is entirely incorrect to suggest Brunswick News Inc cancelled its freelance contract with cartoonist Michael de Adder due to a cartoon depicting Donald Trump currently circulating on social media," the statement reads.
"This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media. In fact, BNI was not even offered this cartoon by Mr de Adder.
"The decision to bring back reader favourite Greg Perry was made long before this cartoon, and negotiations had been ongoing for weeks."