Grant Woolard (born August 13, 1985) is an American student cartoonist, formerly of the University of Virginia's student paper, The Cavalier Daily. The strip he drew and wrote was called "Quirksmith".
On August 23 and 24, 2006, The Cavalier Daily published two Christianity-themed cartoons by Woolard that drew national attention and criticism to the paper.
One was titled "Christ on a Cartesian Coordinate Plane," depicting a cruciform Jesus superimposed over X and Y axes of the Cartesian coordinate system. The second was titled "A Nativity Ob-scene," and depicted Joseph and Mary discussing a venereal rash Mary has developed, of which Mary says to Joseph, "I swear, it was immaculately transmitted!"
The cartoons immediately drew protest from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who demanded an apology. The university began to receive thousands of angry form letters, mostly from outside the university, although some Catholic students found the cartoons offensive as well. The cartoons were even discussed on American talk show The O'Reilly Factor.
The school took no punitive action against Woolard or the paper, although Woolard did apologize and the paper removed the cartoons from its web site, at Woolards request. The paper initially declined to print an apology, but eventually did so as well. Spokespeople for the university stated that the Cavalier Daily was an independent paper, which received no university funding, and that at any rate the university had a responsibility to uphold the freedoms of speech, expression and the press for its student body.
An editorial later ran in the Cavalier Daily that read in part "...we regret being thrust into the culture war in this way ... Just because a comic appears in our pages does not mean that the editors agree with the point or even find it in good taste. It only means that the comic fails to meet specific criteria that warrant censorship."
Second controversy and forced resignationEdit
On September 4, 2007, The Cavalier Daily published a strip of Woolard's titled "Ethiopian Food Fight", which caused considerable controversy and ultimately led to Woolard's ousting from the paper.
This strip featured nine black African men, nearly naked, fighting one another with various objects. The cartoon was quickly condemned by African American students. On September 5, almost 200 protesters led by representatives from the NAACP demanded an apology from the paper and Woolard's termination, and staged a sit-in at the paper's office.
Woolard for his part said that he drew the cartoon to draw attention to famine, not to trivialize it, but admitted he could afterwards see how his characters could have been perceived as "misshapen" racial caricatures.
On September 6, the Cavalier Daily published an apology from the paper, as well as one from Woolard personally. The school's Dean of African American Affairs announced that he thought Woolard "immature", but that with the printed apologies he considered the matter settled.
Woolard said that he met with the managing board of the student-run paper on Sunday night, September 9, and was forced to resign from the paper, as a cartoonist and as a graphics editor. The Cavalier Daily's editor-in-chief, Herb Ladley, declined to comment. No action was taken against Ladley or the paper's operations manager, both of whom approved the cartoon for publication, although some continued to call for them to step down as well.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Robert Mankoff, the cartoon editor for The New Yorker magazine, said that he didn't believe Woolard's intention was offensive or racially biased, but that his inability to perceive beforehand the sensitivity of such issues was a liability to the Cavalier Daily.
According to Woolard, several of the paper's other cartoonists have resigned in protest.
Woolard has said that he plans to continue cartooning, possibly as self-published, or with his own web site.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Associated Press. (2006). "College Newspaper in Virginia Removes Jesus Cartoons at Artist's Request". FoxNews.com. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kinzie, Susan. (2006). "Christian-themed Cartoons Draw Ire". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Shapira, Ian. (2007). "Cartoonist Forced Out Over Image of African Famine". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
- ↑ WCAV. (2007). "Controversial Comic Cartoonist Suspended Indefinitely". WCAV.com. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Breen-Portnoy, Barney. (2007). "Controversial Cartoonist Forced to Resign". WSLS.com. Retrieved September 12, 2007.