The editor and publisher of a Washington, Missouri newspaper The Missourian, William Miller Sr apologized and resigned last night after publishing an editorial cartoon criticized for being racially insensitive.
The syndicated cartoon by Tom Stiglich shows a masked black man grabbing the handbag of a white woman who shouts for help, only for the robber to tell her "Good luck with that lady. We defunded the police."
He stated that the publication was "poor judgement on my part and for that I sincerely apologize. The cartoon was intended to support our editorial position that defunding police departments in the aftermath of George Floyd's senseless killing is not the answer to resolving the racial inequities and injustices that have occurred in policing in this country. We did not draw the cartoon but selected it from a national service we use to support our editorial positions." Miller's daughters, and Missourian co-owners and editors Susan Miller Warden and Jeanne Miller Wood also issued an apology "We saw the cartoon at the same time as our readers and were just as outraged and horrified as our staff and community. Had we known we would have vehemently fought against publishing it. Many families have been having these painful discussions in the privacy of their homes. We, unfortunately, have to have this debate in a more public way." They have also resigned their positions. Their sister Trisha Miller O'Donnell, former editor of the St. Louis Business Journal, will take over as interim publisher and editor starting today, adding that the Missourian will no longer publish Stiglich's work.
Tom Stiglich made a statement to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch that the cartoon "was based solely on violent crime numbers here in the U.S. First and foremost, may George Floyd rest in peace. He did not deserve to die like that.I do not condone racism or police brutality of any kind. It's such a hostile environment we're living in right now, one that needs more law and order, not less. The rioting and looting was extremely disheartening." Tom has, however, removed the cartoon from his own website though it can still be found in the kind of places such cartoons can be found.
Today's cartoon seems to be a comment on these events.