(Edmonton) – On August 9, 2019, the Edmonton Journal issued the following public apology in an effort to make amends for its having published an antisemitic cartoon by Malcolm Mayes:
“Last week, on Aug. 1, the Edmonton Journal ran an editorial cartoon depicting a shadowy figure in a wallet next to the words “Data hacker” in relation to the breach of customer information at Capital One.
“It has since been pointed out that the image of the person bears resemblance to anti-Semitic tropes prevalent in some anti-Jewish propaganda. This resemblance was entirely unintentional, but given that association, the Edmonton Journal apologizes for the publication of the cartoon.
“We are re-examining the procedures we have in place to vet editorial content to avoid future such occurrences.”
The apology was in response to the extremely negative feedback relayed to the Edmonton Journal from the Edmonton Jewish Federation, Honest Reporting Canada, and Edmonton Journal readers.
Edmonton Jewish Federation leadership – CEO Debby Shoctor, President Steve Shafir and VP Shane Asbell – met with Dave Breakenridge (Managing Editor), Bill Mah (Opinion Editor) and Malcolm Mayes (Cartoonist) to discuss the antisemitic nature of the cartoon.
In an August 14th letter to the Edmonton Jewish Community, Shafir wrote that overall, the meeting went well.
He wrote: “We reiterated our displeasure regarding the cartoon that was published by the Journal. They advised that while the drawing of the cartoon in the form published was inadvertent, they understood the consequences of the publication. Both Mr. Breakenridge, on behalf of the Edmonton Journal and Malcolm Mayes apologized for any harm that was caused. We accepted their apologies.
“We provided the Edmonton Journal with some information regarding the history of antisemitism in cartoons. They advised that they would review the information provided and that they were aware of the history.
“We asked the Edmonton Journal what they were going to do in order to repair their relationship with our community. We provided them with information pertaining to what the New York Times did in response to the antisemitic cartoon recently published in their paper. After discussion, the Edmonton Journal has committed to the following:
- To provide training to their staff regarding issues so that they would be more aware of antisemitic tropes should they cross their desks in the future.
- To meet with the Jewish Federation of Edmonton from time to time as either the Jewish Federation or the Edmonton Journal see fit.
- To reach out to the Jewish Federation of Edmonton as they see fit regarding issues that may arise that affect the Jewish Community, and seek our feedback should they feel the need.
- To run an Op-Ed in the near future regarding the effect that their cartoon had and to provide further information to their readership on steps taken to make sure that this does not happen again (we have asked for a more clear and precise and open apology, but they did not commit to same).”
“We believe that our meeting went well,” concluded Shafir, “and we look forward to working with the Edmonton Journal to make sure that this does not happen again and to hold those responsible to account should this occur in the future.”