Texas Paper Pulls ‘B.C.’ Strip With Pearl Harbor Day Mention of Toyota

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By: Dave Astor

The San Antonio Express-News pulled yesterday’s “B.C” comic, saying it contained “regressive and insensitive” content relating to Pearl Harbor.

Johnny Hart’s Dec. 7 strip defined “infamy” as “a word seldom used after Toyota sales topped 2 million.”

Toyota recently opened a plant in San Antonio. But Express-News Managing Editor Brett Thacker said: “Setting aside our community’s relationship with Toyota, it would be an inappropriate message even if the cartoonist had said ‘Subaru’ or ‘Mitsubishi.'”

Thacker, who was quoted in a column by Express-News Public Editor Bob Richter, also said Hart’s Pearl Harbor Day comic is “more than just a feeble attempt at being topical, it’s a regressive and insensitive statement about one of the worst days in American history.”

The managing editor noted that his father served in World War 2, and often expressed displeasure with his sons driving Japanese or German cars. But, Thacker added, Hart’s strip displayed “an old way of thinking. The preceding generations lived through that horrible era — I can certainly appreciate their sacrifice. The world has changed, and much to our benefit. Unfortunately, some people haven’t.”

“B.C.” appears in about 1,200 newspapers via Creators Syndicate. When contacted today by E&P, Creators President Rick Newcombe said in a statement: “Humor often walks a fine line, which is reflected in the Express-News’ debate on whether to pull it, and the fact that the vote at the paper was not unanimous.”

This isn’t the first time Hart’s comic has stirred controversy. A 2001 strip (showing a menorah seemingly morphing into a cross) angered a number of readers. Two other comics, from 2003 and this July, were perceived as anti-Islam. Hart has denied trying to insult Jews or Muslims.

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