A leading Australian political cartoonist has been sacked by his newspaper after likening the enforcement of vaccine mandates in the former British colony to Tiananmen Square.
Michael Leunig has drawn cartoons for Australia’s The Age for more than 20 years. But this week the paper’s editor Gay Alcorn sacked him from his job as Political Cartoonist, claiming that he was “out of touch” with the readers.
The trigger point was a cartoon by Leunig comparing the brutal CCP put-down of the 1989 student protests in Tiananmen Square with Australia’s enforcement of vaccine mandates.
It showed the iconic photo of a lone Chinese student staring down the barrel of a tank. Below it, Leunig depicted a cartoon character staring up at another tank but with its main gun replaced by a syringe.
Leunig’s cartoon was rejected by The Age so he decided to publish it independently on his personal Instagram account:
He was sacked as political cartoonist shortly afterwards.
Accusing his now-former employer of “wokeism and humorlessness” in comments to The Australian, Leunig defended his cartoon by explaining that “The Tiananmen Square image is often used in cartoons around the world as a Charlie Chaplin-like metaphor for overwhelming force meeting the innocent powerless individual. In my view, it is a fair enough issue to raise in the most locked-down city in the world” — namely Melbourne, which was locked down for a record-breaking 262 days and remains subject to some restrictions to this day.
Local govt officials in Australia had dogs at a council pound shot dead "to protect [their] employees and community, including vulnerable Aboriginal populations, from the risk of COVID-19 transmission" from rescuers who had been due to collect them https://t.co/ooCFGA7Qfw
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 23, 2021