Franklin Co. newspaper apologizes for publishing cartoon about duck boat tragedy

Photo published in 'The Missourian' (Credit: 'The Missourian')

A Missouri newspaper is apologizing after publishing a syndicated editorial cartoon regarding the duck boat tragedy at Table Rock Lake.

‘The Missourian’ issued an apology Friday morning after an image showing a hearse with “Ride the Ducks” on the side of it in water was published in Wednesday’s paper.

“The cartoon alone is viewed as insensitive by many people. When accompanied with the text of the artist, it shows the intent was to bring awareness to unsafe touring vehicles,” read a portion of paper’s apology.

The artist of the cartoon, Tom Stiglich, posted the image on his Facebook page July 22 with the text: “Another duck boat tragedy. How many more people need to die before they ban these floating death traps?”

The caption was not included with the photo in The Missourian.

"It's pure sickness. It's tasteless and not appropriate and didn't need to be put in the paper," said Amanda Loudi.

Loudi was shocked when she saw the cartoon in Wednesday's paper. Her family was at Table Rock Lake the day of the tragic duck boat accident and were planning to ride the duck boat that day.

"Something came over me and I decided this is not a good idea, we brought our own boat and we decided to do that instead of pay money to ride a boat and we're glad we made that decision," said Loudi.

In its apology, ‘The Missourian’ wrote that Stiglich, a cartoonist in Philadelphia, released a statement in response to the backlash:I drew the Duck Boat cartoon with the intention of trying to save others from the horrific grief Tia Coleman must be enduring. She is, without a doubt, in my thoughts and prayers.

In Philadelphia (my hometown), two tourists were killed when a duck boat was hit by a barge in 2010. In 2015, five people were killed and 69 others were injured when a duck boat collided with a bus carrying a group of students in Seattle. Just one year later, there were three separate crashes. One took place in Philadelphia, while two happened in Boston, prompting officials to increase safety regulations. I feel not enough is being done.

It’s not a fun, humorous topic, and in no way was I trying to make light of this horrible tragedy.The image also ran in The Dyersburg State Gazette in Tennessee. According to WMC, the cartoon was published in Tuesday’s edition of the paper and was pulled from a service. The paper’s general manager later issued an apology for running the cartoon.

Below is the complete apology from ‘The Missourian’:The Missourian apologizes for publishing a syndicated editorial cartoon on the duck boat tragedy.

The cartoon alone is viewed as insensitive by many people. When accompanied with the text of the artist, it shows the intent was to bring awareness to unsafe touring vehicles.

The cartoon should not have run in the paper.

Not all editorial cartoons are meant to be humorous. In this case, it was meant to be informative of the dangers of the boats as stated by the artist.

Cartoonist Tom Stiglich in Philadelphia released this statement Thursday night in response to the backlash:

I drew the Duck Boat cartoon with the intention of trying to save others from the horrific grief Tia Coleman must be enduring. She is, without a doubt, in my thoughts and prayers.

In Philadelphia (my hometown), two tourists were killed when a duck boat was hit by a barge in 2010. In 2015, five people were killed and 69 others were injured when a duck boat collided with a bus carrying a group of students in Seattle. Just one year later, there were three separate crashes. One took place in Philadelphia, while two happened in Boston, prompting officials to increase safety regulations. I feel not enough is being done.

It's not a fun, humorous topic, and in no way was I trying to make light of this horrible tragedy.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

Digital Content Producer

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