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Notre Dame Student Newspaper Hate Speech

January 15, 2010

From Towleroad:

The student newspaper at Notre Dame, The Observer, ran this stomach turning cartoon today.  How anyone could find this funny is beyond me.  What I find even more shocking is the fact that someone would not even understand how frightening this is.  I’d like to see every person who approved of this sit down and have a nice long talk with Judy Shepard.

The statement from GLAAD is below.

On Wednesday, 13 January, The Observer, the student newspaper at Notre Dame University ran an incredibly troubling cartoon that promotes violence against the LGBT community.

“The cartoon depicted a conversation between two figures.The conversation read,

‘What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?’

‘No idea.’

‘A baseball bat.’

As many people know, ‘fruit’ is often used as a derogatory term for members of the LGBT community.

This type of advocacy of anti-LGBT violence must stop. It isn’t funny. What’s more, it promotes hate crimes, which are all too prevalent in society today.

The cartoonist had posted on his blog – though it’s since been removed – his original version of the cartoon. In the original version, it shows that the punchline read, ‘AIDS’ instead of ‘A baseball bat.’ The paper, he reported, preferred ‘not to make light of fatal diseases.’

The Observer made a dangerously misguided decision that promoting violence was somehow superior to making fun of HIV/AIDS. Both versions of the cartoon were abhorrent.

GLAAD contacted The Observer immediately upon seeing this cartoon. The Editor in Chief Jenn Metz relayed a tearful and what appeared to be heartfelt apology by phone. She explained that she was not present when the decision to run this cartoon was made, and that she was incredibly upset that others on staff had made that decision.”

Metz plans to run what she describes as a “full retraction and apology,” in Friday’s edition of The Observer. GLAAD will watch for that retraction and apology. Additionally, GLAAD asked Metz to ensure that the staff responsible for running this cartoon – both the cartoonist and editor who decided it was fit for print – be reprimanded.

GLAAD has also reached out to the office of the President of Notre Dame University, and called upon that office to issue a statement condemning violence and this cartoon that promotes violence. We await response from the University on how they plan to address this type of violent dialogue from continuing to be advanced on campus.

An apology from The Observer is here.

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