Ex-‘San Diego Union-Tribune’ Editorial Cartoonist Sues Former Paper Over Strip

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By: E&P Staff

Steve Kelley, former editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, is suing the newspaper, accusing senior staffers of pressuring his replacement to not work with him on a joint strip.

Kelley left the Union-Tribune 2001 after his editors refused to run a submitted cartoon that showed what Kelley described as “butt cracks.” The artist went on to become editorial cartoonist for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

The cartoonist?s lawsuit maintains that Kelley reached an agreement with the U-T’s current editorial cartoonist, Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Breen, to co-create a newspaper comic strip called “Dustin.” Universal Press Syndicate agreed to a development deal in 2006, with the possibility of releasing the strip in 2008. The deal, however, fell apart when Breen pulled out, according to the suit, which alleges that the paper “applied undue pressure and coercion? on Breen and ?caused him to believe that his job at the U-T would be in jeopardy should he continue his involvement with ?Dustin.'”

Publisher David Copley, Editor Karin Winner, Editorial Page Editor Bob Kittle, and Senior Editor/Opinion William Osborne are named in the suit.

Union-Tribune attorneys deny any wrongdoing and are requesting that a Superior Court judge dismiss the case.

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