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People Are Outraged By This Cartoon Of Christine Blasey Ford Demanding Roses And M&M's

The Indianapolis Star cartoon depicted Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, making ridiculous demands.

Posted on September 24, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. ET

An Indianapolis Star cartoon about Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were in their teens, provoked outrage on Monday. Many people threatened to cancel their subscriptions to the award-winning newspaper. The cartoon was published in Sunday's print edition of the paper and was also available on its website.

@indystar, you should be ashamed for allowing this to run. I, along with thousands of other Hoosiers, are utterly disappointed in this “cartoon” depiction. THIS is why so many people don’t come forward. I believe Professor Christine Blassey Ford. Shouldn’t even have to say it https://t.co/haoI5na7ja

The cartoon — drawn by the newspaper's editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel — depicted Ford making ridiculous demands, including roses and a bowl of green M&M's — ahead of her testimony about the allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

A political cartoon that ran in @indystar today. Absolutely disgusting. Who thought this was appropriate to run?

The cartoon appeared to allude to the tense back-and-forth negotiations between Ford's lawyers and members of the committee about how the hearing will unfold, including who will question her and how many members of the media will be present.

Ford's lawyers have also demanded that Kavanaugh not be present during her testimony.

Many people felt the cartoon made light of sexual assault.

Don't really know what @indystar is thinking publishing this Gary Varvel cartoon. Since when is alleged sexual abuse a joking matter? https://t.co/z8220ZGbA6

Some said it mocked sexual assault survivors and Ford's demands for a "fair trial."

Hey @indystar this cartoon is shameful! How dare u mock a sexual assault survivor. Mocking her demands for a fair trial as wanting roses & sparkling water?! Sick makes me rethink my subscription https://t.co/B8OE0Gafka

@Adam_Burtner @indystar Haha! You people crack me up. Woman brings unsubstantiated allegations from 36 years ago then demands conditions under which she will testify. The cartoon mocks her methods not all sexual assault. Give me a break.

"Things like this are why women don't report their assaults," one reader said.

@indystar decided to give the thumbs up on publishing this Gary Varvel cartoon. Things like this are why women don't report their assaults. I understand posting different political views so you can show Indianapolis how "unbiased" you are but this is appalling. Do better. https://t.co/andeqkIaYq

Shame on you, @indystar. I know people who were sexually assaulted & didn't report it. This just isn't right. https://t.co/OIjYO99kyq

Another reader accused the cartoonist of propagating rape culture.

@IndyStar today’s editorial cartoon from Varvel was despicable and a new low for him. His work and your complacency helps to propagate rape culture. Where are your ethics?

Many slammed the cartoon as "tone-deaf," "offensive," and "misogynistic."

Latest Gary Varvel cartoon is completely tone deaf and an insult to victims. C’mon, @indystar. You’re better than this. #WhyIDidntReport https://t.co/nP546tB55A

This is trash @indystar. Who in the editorial board decided this was an okay editorial to print? Please apologize for this offensive cartoon. https://t.co/OuzXfThCTH

@indystar Your choice of cartoons mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is highly offensive, misogynistic and NOT reflective of Hoosier values...SHAME ON YOU! Your readership deserves an immediate apology.

Shame on you @indystar for printing that mysogynistic @varvel cartoon. Stop perpetuating that sexual harassment shouldn't be taken seriously.

Can’t understand why @indystar continues to pay @varvel. His cartoons have never been that good and now he is just offensive and tone deaf.

@IndyStar - I am so, so upset about this cartoon. #GaryVarvel just keeps crossing boundaries and you keep giving him more platforms to be offensive. How about you just let him write his drivel and remove the cartoons? Better yet, get a sane person for both slots. #NOMORE https://t.co/5jgj0guZH1

Several IndyStar readers said they were canceling their subscriptions.

.@suzyscribe shame on you for running that awful cartoon by Gary Varvel. The failure to treat victims of sexual abuse with basic human dignity is a stain on the reputation of you and the @indystar. I will be canceling my subscription.

@suzyscribe @indystar Varvel’s pathetic “cartoon” making fun of a sexual abuse survivor is it. I’m canceling my physical and digital subscription. The Indy Star won’t ever see another dime from me.

@indystar cancelled my online subscription after you ran yet another clearly offensive Gary Varvel cartoon

@indystar Wow. Cartoons making fun of victims of sexual assault. Rate hike after rate hike, regular soaked papers, and now this. Your response will be determine my subscription status.

@StephenTerrell @indystar @varvel 90 minutes after placing my call this morning, I was able to cancel my subscription. I was paying over $600/yr to support local journalism but that Varvel “cartoon” and the IndyStar allowing it to publish and then failing to address in last 36 hours was enough for me.

Others said they had previously canceled their subscriptions because of Varvel's cartoons.

@adamwren I canceled our @indystar subscription after his Thanksgiving cartoon a few years back. Will gladly subscribe again the minute he’s no longer on staff.

Gary Varvel’s opinion cartoon in the @indystar is beyond irresponsible. If I hadn’t cancelled my subscription years ago because of his homophobia, I would do it today. @suzyscribe

Readers called for Varvel to apologize, and some demanded that he be fired.

Hey, @indystar, Varvel has gone way too far. You should apologize to the women of this state and, at long last, terminate his employment. https://t.co/uFwZUxb1zI

I’ve been a subscriber and fan of @indystar for years. You owe your readers an apology for the @varvel cartoon today. It demeans the subject, the reader and your talented staff. What say you @tswarens? Others? Time to speak up.

@indystar Today's editorial "cartoon" was beyond disgusting and constitutes hate speech. Varvel should issue a full page apology and make a donation to the Julian Center. Shame on him and the Star for allowing this.

Readers noted that the IndyStar had played a pivotal role in covering the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal and said that the cartoon "sullies" the paper's legacy.

Tone deaf, inappropriate, demeaning editorial cartoon from @indystar. Shame. It sullies the legacy of the paper that blew open the Larry Nassar scandal. https://t.co/4u71QWAhfB

The real shame here is that an @indystar report was pivotal in bringing down Larry Nassar. Publishing cartoons like this dishonors all of those victims and sheds a dim light on the hard work done by Tim Evans, Marisa Kwiatmowski, and Mark Alesia.

"How does the same paper that broke [the story on] Larry Nassar's abuse also publish a misogynistic cartoon mocking a sexual abuse survivor?" the Woman's March Indiana account tweeted.

How does the same paper that broke Larry Nassar's abuse also publish a misogynistic cartoon mocking a sexual abuse survivor? @indystar #MeToo @Indivisible_IND @Indiana_NOW @Indivisible_IN9 @NCIndianaMoveOn @indpls_now @womensmarch https://t.co/4WhGIgg3y0

Many criticized the paper's decision to publish the cartoon.

@indystar Subscriber and free speech/press supporter here. The Varvel cartoon crossed the line. Gary and the Star seem to have mistaken a victim for a political target. Retract, apologize and run a story on rape culture

What is this trash & why have you allowed it to go to publication @indystar? More garbage, offensive work at the hand of Gary Varvel & yet you continue to not only give him a platform but pay him for it. I can’t believe my subscription payments are going towards this bullshit. https://t.co/ZCAypny43a

@EliseShrock @indystar Editorial cartoons should add something to the conversation, not pander to the lowest common cowardly denominator. Terrible call, @indystar. Just shameful.

Deeply disturbed by the @varvel cartoon today. Publishing said cartoon is nothing but an endorsement of sexual assault and abuse and silencing those affected @indystar, I will not be renewing my subscription until a retraction letter with an apology is published.

The newspaper later responded to the outrage in a column by executive editor Ronnie Ramos, who said the cartoon "did not meet [their] high standards."

The column also included a response by Varvel who said that he takes "sexual harassment very seriously."

"My cartoon was focused only on Ford's demands, not on whether she was telling the truth,” Varvel said. “This is a point I should have made clearer in my cartoon. As a husband and father of a daughter and granddaughters, I take sexual harassment very seriously.”

And while most people thought the cartoon was offensive and "horrendously stupid..."

This isn’t @varvel’s first horrendously stupid and offensive cartoon, but it should be his last. He panders to the base fears of people even more poorly informed than himself. Why does @indystar still publish this? https://t.co/AnmWdVg2q8

Some defended it as being "spot on."

@Adam_Burtner @indystar I thought this cartoon was spot on. Democrats are using her to delay the vote

One person said the cartoon only mocked Ford's "methods" and not sexual assault.

@Adam_Burtner @indystar Haha! You people crack me up. Woman brings unsubstantiated allegations from 36 years ago then demands conditions under which she will testify. The cartoon mocks her methods not all sexual assault. Give me a break.

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