PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The murder of French editorial cartoonists was more than a tragic killing, says local cartoonist Rob Rogers.
“It’s such a horrible injustice to free speech and to what I do for a living,” Rogers told KDKA’s Jon Delano.
For years, Rogers has drawn cartoons making fun of current events — including religions — from Catholics on pedophile priests to Jews on bombing Gaza civilians to Muslims who think their religion can’t be criticized.
“I’ve done many, many cartoons that have been controversial,” Rogers says.
No surprise, Rogers gets a response — usually in emails or anonymous letters.
“I recently received one of my cartoons smeared in feces,” he said.
But he’s never felt physically threatened — and says the assassination of French cartoonists is likely to backfire on the terrorists.
“In some way these kinds of acts only empower people to want to speak out and to continue the satire,” he said.
Already cartoonists have reacted — with one showing the Twin Towers as cartoonist’s pens — and another depicting a terrorist killing a cartoonist saying, ‘He drew first.’
It’s not just the editorial cartoonist who may feel pressure because of these horrific acts to scale back their work of art. But what about the publications – the magazines, the newspapers? Will they put pressure on the cartoonist to censor their work?
Maybe, says Rogers, who says once in a while his editors kill a cartoon.
“But it’s not government censorship and it’s certainly not censorship from an outside rightwing or zealot extremist organization that is trying to stop the freedom of the press,” Rogers said.
At the Toonseum downtown celebrating cartoonists, Rogers says whether we’re offended or not, “Everyone has the right to say what they want to say.”
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