The Guardian staff who endorsed the “anti-Semitic” cartoon were unaware that Richard Sharp was Jewish

Richard Sharp forced to resign as BBC chairman - Jordan Pettitt/PA

Richard Sharp forced to resign as BBC chairman – Jordan Pettitt/PA

The Guardian has revealed that its editor is in America as younger staff are accused of publishing his controversial cartoon which sparked anti-Semitism allegations.

On Saturday, the newspaper ran a cartoon of Richard Sharp, the former BBC chairman, who is Jewish, depicting him as a grinning caricature with a flared nose and holding a Goldman Sachs office box, apparently stuffed with gold. and a squid, as well as an apparent puppet of Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister. A pig’s head was also depicted behind him.

Mr. Sharp worked at Goldman Sachs as a banker between 1985 and 2007.

The cartoon by Sharp – who was forced to step down from his role as BBC chairman on Friday after it was found he broke rules on public nominations – sparked shock and anger from Jewish groups, politicians and celebrities on social media as well as accusations of “vile” anti-Semitism.

In the wake of the backlash, Martin Rowson, who drew the cartoon, apologized, as did The Guardian, which removed the cartoon from its website.

Its editor, Katharine Viner, has agreed to meet Jewish leaders of the Council of Deputies over their “concerns” and over “other examples of its questionable output”.

However, in a comment posted to The Guardian’s website on Wednesday afternoon, Elisabeth Ribbans, global editor for readers of The Guardian and Observer, revealed that Ms Viner is currently in the US and has named other less experienced editors responsible for publishing the comic book.

He said many “concerned readers” had complained to the paper and asked what the cartoon might look like in the first place. He admitted that Mr. Rowson and the publishers agree that “the execution [of the cartoon] it went horribly wrong.”

“Right to complain”

He added that Hugh Muir, the Guardian’s executive editor for opinion, whose brief includes the political cartoon, said it should not have been published, and that readers had “right to complain”.

Mr Muir told her that at least three opinion bureau staff had seen the cartoon, but the “aggravating problem” was that no one knew Mr Sharp was Jewish – or, again, “the unhappy lineage of the image of the vampire squid,” he said.

Squids are a common anti-Semitic motif used as part of the conspiracy theory that Jews have their tentacles wrapped around society. The Goldman Sachs box, referred to in the cartoon, was seen as an apparent reference to Mr Sharp’s former employer, who was famously described by Rolling Stone as “a large vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, which inexorably blocks its blood funnel in anything that smells like money”.

However, Ms Ribbans said: ‘In this case, I don’t think the desk staff were obliged to know that Sharp was Jewish (he had not been mentioned in any Guardian article, for example), but this was knowable information. . A greater focus on key tropes may have also led to a crucial break.

His commentary also included a quote from Ms. Viner, who said she was currently in the United States. She said: “As soon as I saw the comic, I immediately removed it from our digital platforms and The Guardian apologized unreservedly to Richard Sharp and the Jewish community. I welcome the fact that Martin Rowson has also apologised.

“The publication of this cartoon highlights the failures in our editorial processes, which we are determined to address. We’re working on what these changes might be so we can be sure something like this won’t happen again.”

In response to the comment, Marie van der Zyl, president of the Council of Deputies, said: “Ultimately, responsibility for the newspaper’s actions rests with its editor-in-chief. We look forward to having a full and frank discussion with Ms. Viner in the near future to address this incident and other long-standing issues that have troubled many in our community for some time.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *