COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The publisher of a family-owned Missouri newspaper has resigned after publishing a racist syndicated cartoon depicting a black man stealing a white woman’s purse while hailing funding cuts to police.
Bill Miller Sr. on Thursday told The Associated Press he has stepped down as publisher of the Washington Missourian but is still the paper’s owner. The newspaper’s co-owners, his daughters, resigned Wednesday in protest.
The cartoon published Wednesday shows the white woman asking for someone to call 911, but the masked black man says, “Good luck with that, lady … we defunded the police.”
The cartoon was published amid protests across the nation against police brutality and following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some protesters are pushing to “defund the police” — a wide-ranging catch-all term for shifting law enforcement resources — over the death of Floyd and other black Americans killed by law enforcement.
Miller wrote in a column that the cartoon was meant to convey opposition to defunding police but was “racially insensitive.”
“It was poor judgement on my part and for that I sincerely apologize,” he wrote.
Miller’s daughters, Susan Miller and Jeanne Miller Wood, denounced the cartoon as racist and wrote in a published apology that its publication hit close to home because it was their father who chose to run it.
“We cannot continue to work for an editor who fails to see the pain this causes and we believe this issue is too important not to take a stand,” they wrote.