Cartoonist Leunig is FOCUS on a drawing comparing Dan Andrews’ vaccine mandates to Tiananmen Square
Controversial cartoonist Michael Leunig has been removed from his prominent place in The Age newspaper after a cartoon was censored comparing resistance to compulsory Covid vaccines to the fight for democracy in Tiananmen Square.
“Apparently I’m out of touch with the readership,” Leunig told The Australian’s Media journal of his dismissal from providing the cartoon editorial page in the Monday editions of the Melbourne-based publication.
Leunig’s cartoon, which never made the newspaper, showed one of his generally fragile, big-nosed figures facing the silhouette of a tank with a syringe in place of the gun turret.
In the upper left corner, the 76-year-old copied the iconic “Tank Man” image showing a protester from Beijing standing in the path of a column of tanks in 1989.
He posted the cartoon on his Instagram page in late September with the word “warrant,” after it was rejected for publication by The Age publisher Gay Alcorn.
Michael Leunig is an artist and political commentator who is also known for his anti-vaccine stance
Leunig confirmed to The Australian that he was dumped from the editorial page, with the newspaper saying he was “testing new cartoonists” on the page.
âIf what Gay is saying is correct, I don’t really want to work for the kind of readers who are so censorious,â Leunig said.
âIt seems that at The Age in particular you can’t get close to the story of Covid except in a way that supports the Victorian government’s handling of it. And if you don’t agree, that’s reason enough for you to be canceled.
Leunig revealed that 12 of his other cartoons, also on vaccines and the Victorian government, had been censored by the newspaper this year.
He said the way he was told his editorial cartoons were no longer wanted by The Age was “pretty brutal [and] discourteous’.
âIt’s not the rejection that bothers me. It is the awakening and the lack of humor, which seem without courage, without good spirit or without creative imagination â, he declared.
Ms Alcorn told Diary she was “not surprised” that Leunig was upset.
âWe don’t mind cartoonists challenging readers. We encourage diversity of thought, but I was concerned about cartoons seen as anti-vaccination, âshe said.
She said the cartoon about Leunig’s “lifestyle” will continue in the Spectrum section of the newspaper’s Saturday edition.
After Leunig posted the cartoon to Instagram in September, some fans praised him for being âon point, as always,â while others were horrified and said the storylines were second to none.
âReally insulting to people all over the world who live under dictatorships and to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Not even remotely comparable. Shameful, âwrote one woman.
‘Bulls ** t. We do not live under a communist regime. We have absolutely no right to compare ourselves to people living under a brutal dictatorship, âadded another.
Someone else said: âYou compare lazy, opportunistic, right-wing instigators to courageous students demonstrating for greater responsibility, freedom of the press, freedom of speech and democracy in a party state. unique.
“You are making fun of those vibrant young souls who perished in Tiananmen Squareâ¦ you are drenched in fear and it stinks.”
Anti-vaccines, however, praised the cartoonist for his political commentary.
âBrilliant and thank you for using your art to spark conversation for those who can’t speak and feel alone. Who feel helpless and harassed by government, media, workplaces and friends, âone man wrote.
‘This picture is everything. The non-vaxxed courageously stand up against the tyranny of government and communist mandates, âsaid another sensational.
Mandatory vaccination has been a source of angst in Victoria, sparking sometimes violent protests across Melbourne’s CBD in late September
Pictured: A man alone in front of a convoy of military tanks as they entered Tiananmen Square in 1989
Someone else correctly pointed out, “He knew he would piss off some people with this one.”
The Tiananmen Square massacre followed weeks of student protests calling for democracy, free speech and press freedom in communist China in 1989, but the protest came to an abrupt halt when the The army arrived on June 4.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have been slaughtered by Chinese troops.
Mandatory vaccination has been a continuing source of angst in Victoria, sparking sometimes violent protests in Melbourne’s CBD in late September.
Workers in many industries, including healthcare, higher education, emergency services, transportation, mining and real estate, face deadlines in which they must show proof of vaccination to their employer.
A trial in Victoria Supreme Court is set to open today after two Victorian teachers tried to challenge the state government’s vaccination mandate for their profession.
Occasional teacher Belinda Cetnar is one of the plaintiffs behind the lawsuit, arguing that the warrant is a violation of human rights and “not legally or ethically justified”.