The cartoon inexplicably links a Jewish-looking man to the recent Capitol One hack.
The Edmonton Journal has formally apologized for publishing a cartoon that many believed was anti-Semitic.
On Aug. 1, the Journal ran an editorial cartoon by veteran contributor Malcolm Mayes, which criticized the recent Capital One hack, in which the data of six million Canadians was potentially compromised, including social insurance numbers and bank account information.
In his cartoon, Mayes drew a wallet with a Capital One credit card, along with a man with a balding scalp and hooked nose, typing away at a laptop bearing the title “DATA HACKER.”
“It has since been pointed out that the image of the person bears resemblance to anti-Semitic tropes prevalent in some anti-Jewish propaganda,” the paper wrote in an apology published on Aug. 9. “This resemblance was entirely unintentional, but given that association, the Edmonton Journal apologizes for the publication of the cartoon.
“We are re-examining the procedures we have in place to vet editorial content to avoid future such occurrences.”
READ: EDMONTON NEWSPAPER UNDER FIRE FOR ‘ANTI-SEMITIC’ CARTOON
In reality, the Capital One hacker is alleged to be Paige Thompson, a 33-year-old former Amazon software engineer who is neither Jewish nor an old man.
“We do not understand the connection Mr. Mayes is trying to make by using anti-Semitic tropes in his cartoon,” wrote Steven Shafir, president of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, in a letter addressed to the Journal’s managing editor days after the cartoon’s initial publication.
“We are disgusted with Mr. Mayes’s cartoon, with your tacit approval of it in your willingness to publish it, or, alternatively, we are astonished by your willful blindness if you did not see the harm that this cartoon would cause.”
Mike Fegelman, the executive director of Honest Reporting Canada, which broke the story on Aug. 8, pointed out Mayes’s history of drawing anti-Israel cartoons. In 2010, he depicted an Israeli settler dismantling a wooden peace symbol to build a home in the West Bank. More recently, in 2018, he drew co-operating hands, labelled “Hamas” and “Israel,” stuffing Palestinians into a meat grinder.
“Mayes has a track record of illustrating odious cartoons that have offended the Jewish community and supporters of Israel, and that many felt crossed the line,” Fegelman told The CJN. “As a result, we review every cartoon he creates.”
On its Facebook page, the Jewish Federation of Edmonton accepted the Journal‘s apology, but reiterated its concerns over the cartoon’s publication.
“We remain deeply disturbed that it was published and promise to both work with the Edmonton Journal to ensure it does not happen again and to hold everyone to account should something similar occur in the future,” reads the post.
Both the Federation and Honest Reporting Canada will meet with the Journal later this week to discuss the matter in greater depth.