ODT cartoon sparks calls for anti-racism training

Published: Wed 4 Dec 2019 12:11 PM
ODT cartoon sparks calls for anti-racism training for the paper
Hamish Cardwell, Journalist
The Otago Daily Times has been told it needs to do anti-racism training after it was forced to apologise for a cartoon joking about the Samoa measles outbreak.
The cartoon sparked an immediate backlash online - being labelled racist, heartless and insensitive. There's a protest planned outside the paper's office today.
Fifty-five people have died from the disease - most of them young children - and more than 3800 people have caught the illness.
50 babies picked up those spots and died, Otago Daily Times.— Sita Leota (@SitaLeota) December 3, 2019
Apologies, but some of this page's content can only be viewed on the desktop version of the site.
The cartoon by Garrick Tremain shows a person outside a travel agent remarking that the least popular spots right now are the ones people are picking up in Samoa.
Sina Brown-Davis - whose whakapapa includes the Scanlan aigi of Faleula in Samoa - has friends on the island whose babies have died in the measles outbreak.
She said the cartoon was racist, made a mockery of the dead and has horrified the Samoan community.
"I'm holding back the tears because this is really emotional, this has hurt a lot of people who are hurting and in trauma anyway.
"The death toll in Samoa keeps on rising, [but] instead of giving support to a country that is close to us [the paper] is cutting people down ... it's reprehensible."
Lisa Taouma from Pacific media organisation Coconet TV said their audience was appalled by the racism.
"What people have been complaining about all day long on our channel, the Coconet TV, is how it just lumped everything into 'brown people problem that become fodder for white people entertainment'."
The paper's editor Barry Stewart has apologised for running the cartoon, but said while it was insensitive it was not racist.
Ms Taouma said the apology has been hugely disappointing to the Pacific community.
"The inadequacy of a one-line throwaway apology around that the content was 'insensitive', you know - what about 'morally wrong'? People have found that completely completely inadequate."
AUT journalism lecturer Richard Pamatatau said the paper has a history of publishing racist cartoons by Mr Tremain.
Otago Daily Times has consistently provided a platform for this racism and cultural insensitivity. No apology from them is sincere. The only apology acceptable now is action - fire Tremain.— Teuila Faleuila (@uilabila) December 3, 2019
Apologies, but some of this page's content can only be viewed on the desktop version of the site.
"The cartoons are dangerous. They're not fulfilling what a cartoon is meant to be, which is to shift your ideas on something or challenge a political idea, they're nasty, vicious, racist cartoon.
He said the paper needs to dump Mr Tremain.
"It's time for him to take his pen and keep them at home in his little office and not bother anybody with his really really .... stupid offensive cartoons."
Cartoonist Garrick Tremain said timing of the cartoon was insensitive but it was just a limp joke.
Listen to Garrick Tremain on First Up this morning duration 5:05
from First Up
Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format.
"Being able to wind the clock back I wouldn't have done it, but I can't wind the clock back.
"I don't think it's the end of the world, it's not meant to give offence, if it has given offence - I'm sorry to those it's given offence to."
Ms Brown-Davis is organising a protest at midday today outside the Otago Daily Time's office, and has some demands for the paper.
"I would like the Otago Daily Times to make a $50,000 donation to the Red Cross in Samoa .... and I would like to see the editorial team at the Otago Daily Times do anti-racism training."
Mr Stewart said the paper will run an editorial in today's edition with an apology and it will review its cartoon selection process.
New Zealand's public broadcaster, providing comprehensive NZ news and current affairs, specialist audio features and documentaries.
Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. Radio New Zealand News are vital elements in our programming, providing impartial news and information to New Zealanders every day. Radio New Zealand (RNZ) provides listeners with exciting and independent radio programmes in accordance with the Radio New Zealand Charter.

Next in Comment

Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle
By: Reese Erlich
Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment
By: Binoy Kampmark
On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector
By: Gordon Campbell
Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code
By: Binoy Kampmark
On The Recession, And On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-election
By: Gordon Campbell
Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics
By: The Conversation
The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising
By: Binoy Kampmark
Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face
By: Binoy Kampmark
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media