WASHINGTON, Mo. — The owners of The Missourian newspaper issued an apology and resigned Wednesday after a racist cartoon was published in its paper.
The publisher, who is the father of the former newspaper owners, has also resigned.
The cartoon shows a white woman being robbed by a black man and saying, "Help!! Somebody call 911!"
With his hands on the woman's arm and her purse, the man responds, "Good luck with that, lady ... we defunded the police."
The co-owners of the newspaper, Susan Miller Warden and Jeanne Miller Wood, posted this message on the website Wednesday morning:
"On behalf of all of our employees at The Missourian we are sorry and DISGUSTED for the editorial cartoon that appears in the Wednesday, June 10 edition of the Missourian.
This does not represent the views of The Missourian staff.
This was selected by the Editor/ Publisher, Bill Miller Sr. BLACK LIVES MATTER."
Hours later, the owners posted another update, saying they have decided to resign. The publisher of the paper is the owners' father.
" ... We apologize to our readers and our staff for the obvious pain and offense it caused. For the record, we abhor the sentiment and denounce ANY form of racism," the statement said in part.
"We saw the cartoon at the same time as our readers and were just as outraged and horrified as our staff and community. Had we known we would have vehemently fought against publishing it. We believe this is the reason we were kept in the dark about its publication.
Even more painful for us is the fact that this hits close to home because this is our father. Many families have been having these painful discussions in the privacy of their homes. We unfortunately have to have this debate in a more public way."
The publisher of the paper, William Miller Sr., announced Wednesday afternoon he would resign from his position and his daughter Trisha Miller O'Donnell will be the interim publisher/editor, effective Thursday.
"I chose the editorial cartoon which I deeply regret given its racial insensitivities," William Miller said in a statement. "I made a mistake. The cartoon was intended to support our editorial position that defunding police departments is not the answer to resolving the racial inequities and injustices that have occurred in policing in this country. I believe that racism in any form is abhorrent."
O'Donnell once served as the editor/publisher of the St. Louis Business Journal.
The cartoonist Tom Stiglich sent the following statement to 5 On Your Side's Sara Machi:
"Thanks for writing and for giving me the opportunity to respond. First and foremost, may George Floyd rest in peace. he did not deserve to die like that. I do not condone racism or police brutality of any kind. It's such a hostile environment we're living in right now, one that needs more law and order, not less. The rioting and looting was extremely disheartening. That cartoon was based solely on violent crime numbers here in the US. To ignore that would be doing a disservice to the reader.Best wishes, Tom"
The newspaper covers news and events in Washington and other parts of Franklin County.