Live

Watch CBSN Live

Political cartoonist says he was laid off over his illustration of Trump golfing near dead migrants

A political cartoonist from Canada says he lost his job after an illustration about President Trump went viral. Michael de Adder posted an illustration of Mr. Trump golfing while in the marsh below him lie the bodies of the migrant father and child who died trying to cross the Rio Grande into Texas. "Do you mind if I play through?" the cartoon president callously quips.

De Adder posted the image last Wednesday, along with hashtags including #BorderCrisis and #TrumpConcentrationCamps. His tweet received thousands of retweets and comments. 

In another tweet, de Adder explained his thinking behind the illustration: "I tried less polite Trump and felt 'do you mind if I play through' to be more delusional and dismissive of reality. It was a cartoon choice. Of course he'd be more rude in real life."

Soon after, however, de Adder said he was let go. "The highs and lows of cartooning. Today I was just let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick," he tweeted on Friday.

In a series of tweets, de Adder implied the cartoon may have been the final straw, but that he was often fearful of submitting anything Trump-related since his cartoons in the past depicting the president had all been rejected: "Does it matter if I was fired over one Donald Trump cartoon when every Donald Trump cartoon I submitted in the past year was axed?"

"It got to the point where I didn't submit any Donald Trump cartoons for fear that I might be fired," he added.

He explained in another tweet that his work would no longer appear in Times & Transcript, The Daily Gleaner, The Telegraph-Journal and The Telegraph-Journal SJ — which are all owned by Brunswick News Inc (BNI).

The Telegraph-Journal responded to de Adder's claim on Twitter, sharing a statement from BNI that disputed the cartoonist's account of his firing.

"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," BNI's statement read. "This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and and recklessly on social media. In fact, BNI was not even offered the cartoon by Mr. de Adder."

BNI said it had already been making plans to bring back a different cartoonist "and negotiations had been ongoing for weeks."

Still, de Adder blamed BNI for his termination, and said it was especially hard on his mother, who has dementia and liked to open the paper and see her son's name on a cartoon. He continued to tweet about the situation extensively over the weekend. 

"And Donald Trump doesn't even matter. It's a distraction from the big picture," he wrote.

Both the company's and the cartoonist's accounts were consistent in making the point that de Adder's Trump cartoon did not run in any newspaper — he just posted it on social media. CBS News has reached out to BNI for further comment and is awaiting a response.