Steve Bell, Under Fire, for Latest Guardian Cartoon

Earlier this year, a Labour MP posted in disgust that Steve Bell was being dropped by the Guardian newspaper over accusations of racism and anti-Semitism in his cartoons. Which was news to Steve Bell, who has been regular cartoonist at the Guardian since I was a toddler. Instead, Bell cited already announced staff cuts at the Guardian for the future of his contract, which was coming to an end in April 2021, but also stated that he was in negotiation for a future contract. Steve Bell is reportedly one of the best-paid cartoonists in the UK, on a mid-six figure sum at The Guardian, creating a regular daily strip If… and a regular full-colour editorial cartoon.

A longstanding socialist and left-wing figure, certainly to the left of the Guardian these days, he has often been a target for right-wing media, especially pro-Israeli media, accusing him of anti-Semetismand let's be fair, he doesn't exactly help things sometimes, doubling down and mocking those who criticise him.

This week, the European Human Rights report on the Labour Party criticised them for anti-Semitism. The leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer accepted all the findings and recommendation.  When the former Labour leader and current North London MP Jeremy Corbyn disputed their findings, was suspended by the Labour Party. And Steve Bell went for an image reminiscent of the beheading of John The Baptist, presented to the Jewish daughter of King Herod, Salome. The history of that story being used by anti-Semites. combined with news of Islamic terrorists, including the beheading of a teacher for showing anti-Islamic cartoons to schoolchildren in a lesson about free speech – well, it all kicked off again.

Steve Bell, Under Fire, for Latest Guardian Cartoon

The Daily Mail headlined "Appalling' Guardian cartoon of Keir Starmer as Salome offering 'St John the Baptist' Jeremy Corbyn's head on a platter the day after Nice beheadings is branded bad taste and anti-Semitic in its own right." The Guardian told the Jewish Chronicle  "The Steve Bell cartoon published today portrays his observation on the recent events in the Labour Party" but that complaints have been received which the readers' editor is looking into. Users on social media stated they had reported the cartoon for hate speech and Labour peer Lord Andrew Adonis tweeted out "Today's Guardian cartoon by Steve Bell is repellent."

I wonder what I'll come up with by Monday?


About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.