- The Indianapolis Star has apologised for a cartoon that shows Kavanaugh accuser Blasey Ford demand trivial things like roses and M&Ms when testifying about her accusations.
- Ford, through her lawyers, has called for conditions that will make for a fair hearing, and previously called for an FBI investigation.
- The Star’s executive editor apologised, saying the newspaper should not “demean or appear to belittle anyone who says they are the victim of a sexual assault.”
- The artist also made a statement, saying: “As a husband and father of a daughter and granddaughters, I take sexual harassment very seriously.”
A newspaper has apologised for publishing a cartoon that showed Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, of making unreasonable demands like roses and M&Ms as she publicly testifies.
Ford, who is due to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, has said through her lawyers that she wants conditions that would make it a fair hearing and has previously requested an FBI investigation. The Indianapolis Star published a cartoon of Ford in front of the committee, where she makes different demands.
“Here are my demands,” she is depicted telling the panel. “No questions from lawyers, dim the lights, I want roses, sparkling water, a bowl of green M&Ms.”
This is a disgrace. I’ve come to expect the worst from Gary Varvel, but never making light of sexual assault. @indystar should have never printed this and should condemn it now. This discredits and disrespects the great journalists that work there, let alone victims of assault pic.twitter.com/46MIcLVXfT
— Adam Burtner (@Adam_Burtner) September 24, 2018
Ronnie Ramos, the executive editor of the Indianapolis Star, said in a note on the newspaper’s website on Monday that the paper “has a responsibility to promote a civil discourse and to present diverse viewpoints in a way that does not demean or appear to belittle anyone who says they are the victim of a sexual assault.”
“Our readers deserved better in this case,” he wrote. “The cartoon did not meet our high standards.”
Many people online had expressed opposition to the way it depicted Ford.
@indystar, you should be ashamed for allowing this to run. I, along with thousands of other Hoosiers, are utterly disappointed in this “cartoon” depiction.
THIS is why so many people don’t come forward.
I believe Professor Christine Blassey Ford. Shouldn’t even have to say it pic.twitter.com/haoI5na7ja
— Haylee Kristina Joy (@hayleekjoy) September 24, 2018
Hey @indystar this cartoon is shameful! How dare u mock a sexual assault survivor. Mocking her demands for a fair trial as wanting roses & sparkling water?! Sick makes me rethink my subscription pic.twitter.com/B8OE0Gafka
— Taylor Moore (@taycmoore84) September 24, 2018
The artist, Gary Varvel, also made a statement about the cartoon, published in Sunday’s edition.
“My cartoon was focused only on Ford’s demands, not on whether she was telling the truth,” he said. “This is a point I should have made clearer in my cartoon. As a husband and father of a daughter and granddaughters, I take sexual harassment very seriously.”
Ford accuses Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed, groping her, and putting his hands over her mouth when she resisted at a high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusation.
Michael R. Bromwich, a lawyer for Ford, said that the plan for Thursday’s public hearing risks turning it into a trial and “does not appear designed to provide Dr. Blasey Ford with fair and respectful treatment.”
Ford is requesting that she is questioned by senators, but Republicans are considering bringing in an outside counsel. Bromwich said this could risk turning the hearing into a “circus.”
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