Student Petition Pushes for Fired Daily Texan Cartoonist to be Rehired

An active petition on Change.org with more than 170 signatures is demanding The Daily Texan reinstate embattled former cartoonist Stephanie Eisner.  The University of Texas sophomore was fired late last month after an editorial illustration she created addressing the Trayvon Martin case earned immense criticism from pockets of readers and a bevy of national media attention.

As I previously posted, the cartoon depicts a mother reading a book to her daughter about media coverage of the Martin shooting.  The mother says to the wide-eyed daughter, “And then, the BIG BAD WHITE man killed the handsome, sweet, innocent colored boy.”  The cartoon’s overt argument: Sensational, biased journalism has morphed Martin’s death into a racial flashpoint in which the minority victim is being unduly sainted and the shooter unfairly vilified.

Critics called the cartoon tasteless and “vaguely racist”– referencing the “colored boy” description, the white skin-tone of the characters featured, and the misspelling of Martin’s first name.  The next day, the Texan removed the cartoon from its website, apologized, and announced that Eisner had been fired.

The petition calling for her reinstatement contends, “The decision is an insult to journalistic independence, our national values of free speech and a free press, and the right to dissent from popular or prevailing viewpoints.  Regardless of one’s views of the cartoon itself, we find it alarming that Ms. Eisner would be shunned and silenced for expressing her views.”

The petition’s creator is a former Daily Texan columnist.  His reasons for lauching it (hat tip Huffington Post): “I used to write for them as an opinion columnist, so I understand what it feels like to be pilloried by the campus community for my views.  But freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend, and Eisner did not seek to offend.”

Related

Daily Texan Pulls, Then Re-Posts Trayvon Martin Cartoon

Comments
2 Responses to “Student Petition Pushes for Fired Daily Texan Cartoonist to be Rehired”
  1. samianquazi says:

    Dan,

    Thank you kindly for the coverage!

  2. Matt says:

    I understand that it is a controversial topic right now, but she has the right to express her views. I suppose the paper has a reputation to protect, but to fire her?

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