At least a dozen newspapers have taken out a syndicated cartoon after learning that a cartoon contained a hidden slur aimed at President Trump.
On Sunday, the “Non Sequitur” comic appeared to simply show bears dressed as Leonardo da Vinci. But The Butler Eagle, a Pennsylvania newspaper, said on Monday it cut off the tape after being alerted to a hidden message by an irate reader.
The strip, which encouraged readers to color in a picture, appeared to include the message in the lower right corner: “We lovingly say fuck you Trump.”
“We apologize that such a disgusting trick has been perpetrated on the reading public,” Ron Vodenichar, the Eagle’s publisher and managing director, said on the newspaper’s website. “The Butler Eagle will immediately interrupt this comic.”
Andrews McMeel Syndication, which publishes the comic, confirmed to The Washington Post on Tuesday that at least a dozen newspapers chose to drop the comic because of the hidden insult.
This is the image from the Non Sequitur comic.
With Trump’s clever insult pic.twitter.com/rlHwKqbHFj
— Fran Warren (@FranWarren) February 11, 2019
The syndicator apologized on Monday for failing to catch “vulgar language” in the editing process.
“We apologize for missing the language in our editing process,” the company said in a statement, according to the Post. “Had we found out, we wouldn’t have aired the cartoon without it being taken down. We apologize to the customers and readers of ‘Non Sequitur’ for our oversight.
The cartoonist who drew the strip, Wiley Miller, told the Post that he forgot about the scribbled message until it was published. He added that he wrote the sentence several weeks ago when he was frustrated with the actions of the Trump administration.
“When I opened the newspaper on Sunday morning and read my cartoon, I didn’t think of it, because I didn’t notice the scrawl that has now caught fire,” said Miller, a frequent Trump critic. “It was not intended for public consumption, and I wanted to clear it before submitting it, but forgot to do so. If I had intended to make a statement to be understood by readers, I would have done it in a more subtle and sophisticated way.
Miller on Sunday teased the comic by saying in a now-deleted tweet that there was an “easter egg” in the image.
The “Non Sequitur” comic strip is published in more than 700 newspapers in the United States