Canadian newspaper apologizes for Zelensky cartoon — RT World News


The caricature of a greedy Ukrainian leader pilfering American money was “hurtful,” the Toronto Sun said

The Toronto Sun has apologized for publishing a cartoon depicting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky stealing a wallet from US President Joe Biden’s back pocket. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the cartoon “anti-Semitic.”

Published on Wednesday, the cartoon showed Zelensky lifting the billfold from Biden’s trousers as the pair walked arm in arm. Drawn by American artist Gary Varvel, the cartoon was printed a week after Zelensky traveled to Washington to plead with lawmakers to pass a bill containing more than $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

Biden has spent recent months attempting to convince the Republican Party to drop its opposition to the bill, with no success. If passed, it would bring the total amount of military and economic aid allocated to Kiev by the US to more than $170 billion since February 2022.

The cartoon was condemned by Ukrainian activists, with Canada-Ukraine Foundation Director Yaroslav Baron accusing the newspaper of “insult[ing] Ukrainian dignity,” perpetuating “anti-Semitic stereotypes,” and advancing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “propaganda efforts.” 

A US- and NATO-backed “foreign disinformation monitoring” platform complained about the cartoon, arguing that depictions of “the Ukrainian government as corrupt” are “false.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then weighed in, claiming that the cartoon’s depiction of a hook-nosed and greedy Zelensky promoted “the worst kind of anti-Semitism.” 

Three months ago, Trudeau and Zelensky took part in a standing ovation for a Ukrainian Nazi veteran at the Canadian parliament in Ottawa. Zelensky is Jewish.

Amid the pressure campaign, the Toronto Sun backed down. “The cartoon did not meet our editorial standards, we were wrong to run it and we apologize,” Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Batra wrote in an op-ed on Thursday. 

“It was hurtful to Canadians of Ukrainian origin, and to all Ukrainians, fighting an existential struggle against Russian aggression,” Bartra continued. “It was hurtful to Canadians of Jewish origin, and to the Jewish people, currently under assault from a global wave of anti-Semitism. We failed them and we failed all of you, our readers.”

Bartra also announced that the newspaper would no longer print the cartoonist’s work.

While the apology was hailed by pro-Ukrainian activists, some independent pundits condemned the newspaper’s about-turn. Journalist Glenn Greenwald called the apology “dumb and humiliating,” describing the cartoon as a “completely banal and common political cartoon showing Zelensky picking the pockets of Biden – because he’s, you know, demanding billions more for Ukraine’s war.”

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