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Ill-timed Broom Hilda strip on movies, gunshots (UPDATED)
Today’s Broom Hilda is another example of ill-timed cartoon in light of the Aurora Colorado shootings. Francesco Marciuliano, writer for Sally Forth, issued an apology for Sunday’s Sally Forth strip that had a far looser connection to the events in Aurora. It kind of raises the question – at what point after a tragedy can a cartoon run that depicts something – even indirectly – and not feel obligated to issue an apology or statement.
As far as I know, there hasn’t been any reaction from the public on this Broom Hilda cartoon, nor any pre-emptive apology/statement from either the cartoonist or syndicate. Then again – it just hit papers today.
UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune has posted a notice explaining that the strip got past them. If any paper came to mind that would have pulled it, I would have guessed the Chicago Tribune. Here’s part of their statement.
We review all comics a week before we begin publishing them (and in the case of the preprinted Sunday funnies, two weeks earlier). During that review we inspect 164 strips in one sitting. If a strip doesn’t meet our standards of fairness and taste, we routinely ask for substitutes from the features syndicates that provide our comics. When news breaks that turns a harmless cartoon into one of bad taste, someone flags it in time.
But not this time. Today’s “Broom-Hilda” had passed from memory by the time the slayings occurred.
That’s not an excuse, it’s just the explanation. We hate when anything like this gets past us, so we’re kicking ourselves — and trying to make sure it doesn’t recur.