Michael de Adder, a Canadian cartoonist who has been drawing professionally for almost two decades, saw his contract with four newspapers terminated after his depiction of the U.S. president and the border crisis went viral.
— Michael de Adder (@deAdder) June 26, 2019
The cartoon, shared by de Adder on Wednesday, features Donald Trump standing by a golf cart, asking “Do you mind if I play through,” while standing above the bodies of a father and toddler. The image recalls the drowning of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, in the Rio Grande River as they tried to cross the Mexico-U.S. border.
On Saturday, de Adder revealed on Twitter that he was “let go” from all the newspapers owned by Brunswick News: the Moncton Times Transcript, Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Telegraph-Journal and Telegraph Journal Saint John.
— Michael de Adder (@deAdder) June 28, 2019
De Adder’s career began in 2000. His work is syndicated in North America, and appears regularly in large-circulation newspapers including the Toronto Star and the National Post.
When reached by HuffPost Canada on Sunday, he said he couldn’t speak about his contract but that some speculation circulating on social media was hitting it on the nose.
Whether the powers that be in America would make the connection between de Adder's cartoon and Brunswick News doesn't matter.
It seems that the Irving's don't want to take that chance. So they cut all ties.
An oil company has no business owning newspapers.#deAdder
— Wes Tyrell (@tyrell_wes) June 30, 2019
Wes Tyrell, a political cartoonist and president of the Association of Canadian, said, “Although [de Adder] has stated there was no reason given for his firing, the timing was no coincidence.”
He noted that the Trump cartoon did not appear in the newspaper but its popularity across social media likely caught the eye of the Irving family, which has a monopoly on New Brunswick’s papers. Their companies — which include oil and gas, shipping and transportation — are worth an estimated $10 billion, making them among Canada’s richest families.
“For a brief period de Adder was the poster boy for the Anti-Trump movement. A good place to be if you’re a cartoonist, but a bad place to be if you work for a foreign oil company with business ties to the United States,” Tyrell said in a statement on Facebook.
Brunswick News said they were not offered the Trump cartoon to publish. In a statement on Sunday morning, they said de Adder’s freelance contract was cancelled in order to bring in another cartoonist, as part of negotiations that had been “ongoing for weeks.”
Please see the attached statement issued today by Brunswick News Inc. regarding incorrect information on social media about BNI's freelance contract with cartoonist Michael de Adder. pic.twitter.com/173SSPMJYs
— Telegraph-Journal (@TJProvincial) June 30, 2019
The company described blaming the Trump cartoon for the end of de Adder’s contract as “a false narrative.”