‘USA Weekend’s Offending Illustration

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By: E&P Staff

Pictured here is page 14 from the Jan. 16-18 USA Weekend that contains an illustration with a racial epithet that caused the publication to stop the presses after copies had already been shipped to 330 newspapers.

The offending word, which USA Weekend editors and the freelance illustrator say was inadvertently included, appeared as background text on the forehead of the character in the upper right-hand corner. Though not visible here, the small text can be read on the full-size USA Weekend page.

The illustration uses text, including the word “nigger,” from a previously published New York Times article as background. That Times article included an exchange discussing the problems with the racial epithet. The artist said he did not proofread the selected text and was unaware it contained inflammatory language, USA Weekend said Tuesday.

Once the accident was discovered, the art was edited to remove the offending word. USA Weekend alerted its newspaper partners of the mistake, and at least half of the papers who received the tainted copy have opted not to carry the publication this weekend, USA Weekend President and CEO Marcia Bullard told E&P Wednesday afternoon.

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