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Aussie Cartoonist Michael Leunig Axed Over Controversial Vaccine Image

Stewart Perrie


Aussie Cartoonist Michael Leunig Axed Over Controversial Vaccine Image

Iconic Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig has confirmed he's been been removed from The Age newspaper's coveted Monday edition.

He has a career spanning five decades and his work across that lengthy time was regularly praised for being a spot on representation of something current.

However, Leunig divided opinion across the country a month ago when he posted a cartoon he had drawn that compared being forced to get the coronavirus vaccine to the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.

After posting it to his Instagram account, many people were outraged over the idea that not following the health guidelines to get the jab was somehow like the 'tank man' standing up against a dictatorial regime.

The cartoon was never printed in The Age and the newspaper's editor, Gay Alcorn, had to explain to Leunig why it was banned.

The cartoonist told The Australian: "Apparently, I'm out of touch with the readership.

"Gay feels this type of cartoon is not in line with public sentiment, and The Age's readership, who it does seem are largely in favour of the Andrews Covid narrative.

"But my job is to challenge the status quo, and that has always been the job of the cartoonist."

He explained that the cartoon should be viewed as a 'Charlie Chaplin-like metaphor for overwhelming force meeting the innocent powerless individual'.

While he was upset that his coveted spot on the Monday edition was axed, he said he's happy to not work for a company that is 'censorious'.

Michael believes he has maintained a perfect balance throughout his career, which he described as 'not to be a wrecker, but also not to be too conventional or goodly'.

He added to The Australian: "I do understand that a newspaper must be free to control its content and refuse to publish pieces as it reasonably sees fit.

"I have had cartoons censored during my 55 years of editorial cartooning and have always had the reasons for rejection explained to me by editors in intelligent, respectful ways.

"It is not rejection that bothers me. It's the wokeism and the humourlessness, which seem without courage, good spirit or creative imagination."

Gay Alcorn says Michael is 'entitled' to be upset however stands by her decision to censor this cartoon and others that could be construed as having an 'anti-vaccination' message.

She praised Leunig for bring 'quite brilliant' and said his cartoons will still be published in the Saturday Spectrum section.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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