The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has joined other newspapers in dropping a syndicated cartoon after a Sunday strip contained a profane message to President Donald Trump. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

AJC, others drop cartoonist after profane remark about Trump

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has joined other newspapers in dropping a syndicated cartoon after a Sunday strip contained a profane message to President Donald Trump.

Kevin Riley, editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said Wiley Miller’s comic, “Non Sequitur,” will be replaced starting in Tuesday’s newspaper.

“Obviously, this does not meet our standards,” Riley said. “We apologize to all of our readers, and we’ve personally reached out to every single subscriber who’s contacted us.”

He said that the comic was removed from Sunday’s upcoming edition, even though the comics section had already been printed. Riley added that Miller’s work will never again appear in The AJC.

“We were dismayed and disappointed when we learned of what had happened,” Riley said. “One of our first steps was to remove the comic from our ePaper, and like some other newspapers around the country, we immediately canceled the comic.”

Miller says the profane message about Trump was an accident. But as of Monday afternoon, three other newspapers had dropped the cartoon, said John Glynn, spokesman for Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes the comic to more than 700 newspapers. Glynn said that Miller’s status with the company hasn’t changed.

Miller said in a statement through the syndicate Monday that the language was included by error. “I now remember that I was particularly aggravated that day about something the president had done or said, and so I lashed out in a rather sophomoric manner as instant therapy. It was NOT intended for public consumption, and I meant to white it out before submitting it, but forgot to. Had I intended to make a statement to be understood by the readers, I would have done so in a more subtle, sophisticated manner.”

But that sentiment doesn’t exactly square with Miller’s tweet Sunday afternoon saying “some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg” and goading others to find it by linking to the cartoon. When asked to explain the discrepancy, Miller said through the syndicate spokesman that he knew it was too late.

The syndicate released a public apology Monday: “We are sorry we missed the language in our editing process. If we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed. We apologize to Non Sequitur’s clients and readers for our oversight.”

The company described Non Sequitur on its website as “Wiley Miller’s wry look at the absurdities of modern life,” adding that the cartoon is “a hit with millions of fans” since starting in 1992.

Wiley won the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award in 2013, putting him among other winners “Garfield” inventor Jim Davis and “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz.

Although he is a native of California, where he was an editorial cartoonist for two newspapers, Miller’s location on Twitter is listed as Chattahoochee Hills, which is in southern Fulton County.

The AJC reported that Miller lived in Georgia in 2016, when he held an $85-a-plate dinner at Serenbe to “discuss political cartoons and how this medium is used to make a statement especially in this year’s crazy election.”

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