Editors' Note

The Crimson has become aware of several editorial cartoons by cartoonist Kathleen E. Breeden ’09 that show striking similarities to previously published cartoons. On October 25, 2006, The Crimson printed a cartoon by Breeden depicting President Bush and a donkey holding a sign pointing to Bush with the word “Not” on it and a headline reading “For better or worse, it might finally be a winning strategy.” That cartoon is strikingly similar to another cartoon by Walt Handelsman, which appeared in Newsday Oct. 16 and was subsequently posted on the Internet. That cartoon also depicts Bush, a Donkey with the word “Not” written on its t-shirt and an arrow pointing to Bush, and the header reading “The Democrats find a winning strategy.”

A second cartoon by Breeden, published Oct. 18 depicts North Koreans worshipping a nuclear weapon. Kim Jong Il states in the foreground, “See! I know they’d appreciate it!” and another North Korean responds, “Are you sure? It appears they’re eating dirt.” That cartoon is similar to a Jan. 9, 2003, cartoon by Stephen Breen syndicated by Copley News, which depicts four people apparently worshiping Kim Jong Il, who is holding a nuclear weapon and stating, “That’s it! Bow before you’re great leader.” An assistant responds, “They’re eating the grass, sir.”

A third cartoon by Breeden, published Sep. 22, depicts in one half of the frame the pope stating that “Violence is incompatible with the nature of God.” In the other half of the frame are depicted a series of rioters, including one in the foreground holding a sign stating “Death to the Pope.” This cartoon is similar to a cartoon by Monte K. Wolverton in The Wolvertoon, which also depicts the Pope stating that “Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.”

Breeden’s Oct. 11 cartoon, which depicts Kim Jong Il with a mushroom cloud emerging from his head, shows similarities to numerous cartoons that also show depict Kim’s hair similarly, including ones that ran in The Hartford Courant, The Ottowa Citizen, French newspaper Le Temps, and Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

We have concluded that Breeden’s Oct. 25 and Oct. 18 cartoons drew inappropriately on the similar works, and as such, we have retracted these cartoons from The Crimson’s online edition. We also believe that the similarities in Breeden’s Sep. 22 and Oct. 11 cartoons and their similar works suggest the possibility that she inappropriately drew on them, though we cannot reach a definitive conclusion at this moment. All four of Breeden’s cartoons are reproduced below; links to the similar cartoons are available on the web version of this note.

Breeden has agreed to discontinue her work as an editorial cartoonist for the newspaper. The Crimson regrets the publication of these cartoons, and would like to publicly apologize to the offended publications and cartoonists. We also apologize to our readers for the breach of trust that has occurred as a result of the editorial cartoons and an opinion column by Victoria Ilyinsky ’07 that was discontinued last week because of improper citation in her Oct. 16 opinion piece, “This Word is Killing Me, Literally.”

We continue to be dedicated to ensuring the integrity and honesty of all content that runs in the newspaper. To that end, the newspaper has commenced an investigation into the circumstances that have allowed contributors to run improperly cited or plagiarized content on the editorial page. Once that investigation is complete, we will announce in the newspaper a set of policies designed to prevent further recurrence.


William C. Marra ’07, Michael B. Broukhim ’07, Matthew S. Meisel ’07