The Washington Post faces boycotts over two “transphobic” cartoons drawn by a conservative illustrator which were recently published by the newspaper.
The cartoons, drawn by conservative syndicated illustrator Mike Lester, were criticized by hundreds of Twitter users, including ACLU attorney Chase Strangio.
One of the comics featured a row of men cheering at a scantily clad woman bursting out of a cake captioned, “The Mueller Report,” with two waiters commenting, “Wait till they find out that’s a dude,” while the other comic mocked transgender athletes being able to participate with biological women and dominating the competition.
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 26, 2019
They've actually posted two #transphobic Mike Lester cartoons this month. At this point it's no longer an oversight, it's a pattern, and the @washingtonpost needs to own up to it. pic.twitter.com/4WptT9rywd
— Decker Moss (@Decker_Moss) March 26, 2019
“It’s obvious what Lester is implying: The Mueller report is as disappointing and deceptive as trans women who seduce cisgender men. If only we wore our transness on our sleeve, we could protect cis people from ever having sex with us,” the Daily Dot claimed. “It’s not just bigoted; its punchline is so transphobic that the comic only makes sense to readers who also think trans women are secretly men in drag.”
Dave Zirin, a sports editor at the Nation, responded to the cartoon by declaring, “Fails as a joke. Succeeds as bigotry. What a combo!”
Fails as a joke. Succeeds as bigotry. What a combo!
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) March 26, 2019
Games industry blogger Holly Green simply responded, “what the fuck is wrong with them.”
what the fuck is wrong with them
— Holly Green (@winnersusedrugs) March 26, 2019
— Gladstone (@WGladstone) March 28, 2019
Well this is a nice cartoon that is completely not transphobic at all.
Fuck off, Mike Lester. And the Washington Post. pic.twitter.com/CRMVLpmnQu
— mx jen (unlimited supply of uteruses, inc.) (@JenDurbent) March 25, 2019
Some users even claimed to have canceled their subscriptions to the Washington Post over the cartoons, and others threatened to do so.
“hey I’m a @washingtonpost subscriber, but not for much longer if they keep publishing gross transphobic hate. I wrote as much to the customer care team, hope you’ll do the same cuz this is not acceptable,” complained one user, while another proclaimed, “i don’t give money to people who hurt this community, so today i cancelled my subscription.”
“I just canceled my subscription. I don’t want my money to pay for corny ass transphobic cartoons like the ones done by @MikeLester,” declared an English subscriber.
In a statement to Gay Star News, a spokesman for the Washington Post stated, “We give cartoonists wide latitude in what they present… While we may not agree with some perspectives, cartoons serve a role in generating conversation and debate.”
Gene Park, an editor at the Washington Post, also responded to the criticism on Reddit, replying, “Thanks to everyone for sounding off on this offensive piece… Mike Lester is not technically an employee of ours, although we do run and administer The Washington Post Writers Group, a group of syndicated outside (and inside) columnists and editorial cartoonists.”
“We do NOT run Mike Lester’s cartoons in The Washington Post, and this one in particular was not published anywhere in our pages,” Park continued. “We employ two full-time cartoonists, Ann Telnaes and Tom Toles.”