PCC responds to Mac swastika cartoon

You might remember the recent court case in which a gay couple won their discrimination case against the hotel owners who turned them away because they were gay. Daily Mail cartoonist ‘Mac’ covered the story by drawing the two men as burly thugs covered in tattoos, one of which really did appear to be a swastika. It seems that many people complained, and one of the complainants has now added his response in the comments which I will reproduce here:

In regard to the concern that it was inaccurate to depict a gay man displaying a swastika tattoo, the Commission emphasised that the cartoon was depicting figurative characters and not specific individuals. While it acknowledged the assertion made by many complainants that, given the treatment of homosexual people by Nazis, a gay man would not have this insignia tattooed on his arm, it did not consider that readers would be misled by the cartoon into understanding that homosexual people in general had an affiliation or association with Nazism or that they held similar views.

Virtually all of the complainants considered that the portrayal of the couple in the cartoon, and especially the depiction of a swastika, was in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Code. The terms of this clause state that the press must avoid making a prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s sexual orientation. However, the clause does not cover general concerns over the discrimination of groups or categories of people. Given that the majority of complainants considered that the cartoon discriminated against homosexual people in general, the Commission could not establish a breach of Clause 12 of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

An interesting response, claiming that the cartoon covered ‘figurative’ characters, rather than specific individuals when the cartoon was essentially coverage of a real case featuring two real human beings. The general thrust of the argument is that you cannot insult an individual’s sexuality, but mocking or discriminating against ‘homosexual people in general’ is not a breach of the code. Which I guess suits the right-wing press just fine. Which of course it would, given that the code is written by newspaper editors for newspaper editors.

The PCC limps on, but for how much longer?

Spot the swastika

Compare and the contrast the two images below. The first is a picture of the gay couple turned away from a hotel, who recently won a discrimination case against the owners. The second is the Daily Mail cartoon by Mac, who is covering the story in his own unique style. See if you can spot the swastika in the Mac cartoon and then challenge yourself to try and come up with an innocent explanation for why he decided to add it.

Mac is not being ironic

On second thoughts, I think we can conclude that Mac isn’t being ironic.

‘Yes, sir. Somali pirates – we stopped them, gave them food and water, explained their human rights… then guess what?’

‘Attention children. To set the mood Miss Spilsbury will strip off to demonstrate upside-down pole dancing whilst snorting a line of coke…’

That Mac Cartoon

OK, the Mac cartoon equating immigrants to animals has done the rounds and you’ve probably seen it by now. It has been retweeted around the twitterverse since @dailyquail tweeted it last night and has done the rounds via Liberal Conspiracy and Pickled Politics. Still, I feel it is important to at least mention it here for those of you that have missed it:

It isn’t subtle, it isn’t pleasant and above all: it just isn’t funny. It still staggers me that every year the Daily Mail brings out a ‘Best of Mac’ book just in time for Christmas. I guess you can laugh at Mac and buy the book every year, but only if you’re a racist. I’m sure people who regularly look at Mac’s cartoons would be able to point out a lot that really are just designed to stir up hatred of ethnic minorities, but I have one example that stood out enough for me to cover it quite some time ago:

In reality Mac does little more than sketch the worldview of the Daily Mail, if you enjoy a Mac cartoon it’s because you enjoy reading the Daily Mail and both tally with your own view of the world. You probably think immigrants are no better than animals, and the idea of a multicultural marriage is as laughable or grotesque as marrying a sheep.

However, perhaps I’m not giving Mac enough credit, as a commenter on the Mail website muses:

This is hiliarious because you see the difference between humans and sheep are cultural differences. It’s not like they are another species, it’s just cultural. Mac is so funny lampooning how insane the right-wing are when they equate gays/other races with animals, it’s funny.

This is supposed to be a satire on pretty much the entirety of the Mail’s output, right?

– Ari Ovin, Berrichon du Cher, 11/2/2010 14:50

Nice of the Daily Mail to let that comment through.