INDIANA — The student newspaper at Notre Dame University andSaint Mary’s College, The Observer, has accepted the resignation ofits former assistant managing editor, Kara King, its Web site confirms.
The resignation was accepted after King took responsibility for thepublication of a cartoon that used language against members of the gay communityand a joke about violence against them, according to The Observer’sWeb site.
The cartoon features one character, a saw holding a drink, saying toanother character, a male holding two drinks, “What is the easiest way toturn a fruit into a vegetable?” The male character responds “Noidea,” to which the saw responds, “A baseball bat.”
A letter from King to “The Observer community” is onthe paper’s Web site, in which she writes she is “solely responsiblefor providing a forum for this message of hate,” and apologizes to thosewho were offended by the cartoon.
“I wish everyone on staff the best of luck in regaining thereaders’ trust that I have violated,” King wrote.
In a letter to the editor, the creators of the cartoon, Colin Hofman,Lauren Rosemeyer and Jay Wade, apologized for creating what they called”offensive, distasteful and completely humorless joke.”Theletter goes on to explain their true intention was to bring light to theintolerance of homosexuality on Notre Dame’s campus, using the sawcharacter to “emphasize a mindset that we simply find ridiculous.”They acknowledge, however, that this cartoon went too far.
Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., is quoted in astatement that appears on the university’s Web site.
“The University denounces the implication that violence orexpressions of hate toward any person or group of people is acceptable or amatter that should be taken lightly,” Jenkins wrote.
When the cartoon was published, several people contacted the Gay andLesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said one of their senior mediastrategists, Adam Bass. Upon hearing of the issue, he spoke with TheObserver’s Editor-In-Chief Jenn Metz, Bass said.
“We felt like the paper owed the students and the community anapology,” Bass said.GLAAD’s main request of The Observer
was that they review the policies in place to prevent these types of problems.
“It’s way too often in our country that young peopleare targeted based solely on somebody not liking that they are gay ortransgender. They are targeted for violence so it’s not a laughingmatter,” Bass said. “We took it seriously and we’re glad thatThe Observer is taking it seriously.”
A staff editorial from The Observer includes an apology for thisincident, a wish to move forward and an admission that the fact that the cartoonwas published “reveals holes in our editing practices, which are currentlybeing addressed.”
Neither Editor-In-Chief Jenn Metz nor Managing Editor Bill Brink of TheObserver could be reached for comment by press time.