Political cartoon depicting black looters sparks backlash in Roxboro

ROXBORO (WTVD) -- The publisher of The Roxboro Courier-Times plans to respond to backlash from its readers over a political cartoon it published depicting black males looting from a drug store during Baltimore's riots this week.

"He didn't mean to be racist. He's never in his years of working for the newspaper intended to hurt anybody." said Gerald Wallace with Person County's Democratic Party, referring to publisher Brinn Clayton. "It did hurt him and he will be making an apology as soon as possible."

Clayton, who declined to comment to ABC11, met with Wallace at the paper's headquarters Thursday afternoon.

The cartoon shows five black males, some in hoodies, stealing electronics and toiletries from a CVS. A white network TV correspondent is shown asking, "Are you protesting over Freddie Gray's death?"

The response from one of the puzzled looking thieves is, "Who?"

"I understand the illustration, but maybe it was in the wrong way," explained Wallace. "The cartoon portrays black people as just plain out stupid because they're doing something dumb; they're doing something also that they didn't think about first."

Readers are finding different aspects of the cartoon offensive.

"They trying to say that black folks are taking everything ain't it?" said Sonita McClain of Roxboro, "I don't like it at all."

Shanella Wade of Roxboro said, "Their lips are real big. The eyes are big," hinting the depictions of the thieves are caricatures.

The cartoon which appeared in Wednesday's edition of the paper published twice a week is nationally syndicated, and the illustrator Tom Stiglich is based in Philadelphia.

According to The Courier-Time's Facebook fan page the local publisher will "address the issue surrounding the political illustration," in Saturday's May 2 edition.

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