By Micaela Everitt,
HUB Staff Writer–
An editorial cartoonist should expect backlash when taking a side or over-using satire, but on April 25, Jack Ohman, editorial cartoonist for the Sacramento Bee, did not realize that his cartoon would create such an explosion of controversy.
To comment on the cause of the explosion of the fertilizer plant in Texas, Ohman chose to point out the flaws in the company’s regulations crop up throughout Texas. Safety was not heavily regulated for workers in the plant and Ohman criticized Texan Governor Rick Perry for being proud of booming business in his state.
Perry, as well as thousands of Texans tweeted, emailed and commented on the cartoon, which featured Perry showing off Texas’ great economy and ignoring the fact that 15 people died.
“When I drew it I didn’t see anything odd about it,” Ohman said. He had drawn controversial cartoons before, but had never had such recoil.
The cartoon essentially went viral and it seemed as though Texas launched a campaign against the Bee. Comments toward members of the newspaper, particularly Ohman, said that the cartoon was “tasteless and held no sensitivity.”
“What’s tasteless—me drawing a cartoon or bad regulations that blow up fertilizer plants?” Ohman said.
Some even went as far to threaten the journalists involved and their families. “I don’t consider myself an insensitive person,” Ohman said in response to the threats, confused as to why he would be threatened.
The controversy blew up across the country. There are nine thousand comments on the story at The Huffington Post online and almost seven thousand on CNN.com.
There were also several newspapers that copied the Bee in support. The Boston Globe even went as far as to write an editorial.
Ohman does expect to respond with a follow-up cartoon, but will hold off until everyone cools off a bit. “Today I think I am just going to do a light Jerry Brown cartoon,” laying-off anything remotely controversial.