Picketers Protest Outside 'Newsday' Offices Over Cartoon

By: E&P Staff Picketers demonstrated outside of Newsday's offices in Melville, N.Y., on Wednesday to protest a cartoon that appeared in Sunday's paper. About 20 people carrying signs that read "Boycott Newsday" also demanded that Editor John Mancini be fired for allowing the cartoon to be published.

The protesters were upset about a syndicated "Mallard Fillmore" cartoon drawn by Bruce Tinsley that was published a week after the one-year anniversary of the death of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero. They were also picketing in protest of a recent story and column about Lucero?s murder.

Authorities allege that seven teenagers stabbed Lucero to death last year, and one has pleaded guilty to first-degree gang assault and fourth-degree conspiracy.

The cartoon causing the controversy was titled ?Liberals: The Early Years,? and featured a small dinosaur being chased by a larger one who said, ?I'm not chasing you because you're a pachycephalosaurus ... I'm chasing you because you're delicious,? to which the smaller dinosaur responded, ?Oh, thank goodness. I was worried that this might be a hate crime.?

Lucero?s brother, Joselo Lucero, 35, was among the protesters. He told Newsday, ?What bothered me so much is that somebody takes advantage and jokes around about hate crimes. This is no joke for me. It was a tragedy.?

Newsday issued a statement admitting that the cartoon should not have been published, saying, ?We expect the cartoons we publish, many of which are nationally syndicated, to amuse, stir and entertain, but never to offend. Hate crime is a serious issue. This nationally syndicated cartoon should never have run and we have expressed our concern to the syndicator.?

The Rev. Allan Ramirez also told a Newsday reporter that many in the community felt that a recent story about one of the teens charged in Lucero?s stabbing was a ?puff? item, and that the story and another recent column displayed ?biased coverage? and an ?insulting attitude? toward the immigrant community on Long Island.

The column in question urged Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy to lead the community in repairing the damage caused by Lucero?s death. However, Ramirez likened that call to action to ?asking Bull Connor to lead the civil rights movement,? referring to the Birmingham, Ala., police chief who, in 1963, used fire hoses and police dogs to disperse nonviolent civil rights protesters.

The protesters called for a boycott of both Newsday and its advertisers. Newsday, however, is defending its coverage of the Lucero killing and immigration in the area, with Mancini telling the paper, ?We stand by our coverage.?


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