UPDATED WITH NEW INFO ON INDY STAR PULLING OFFENDING CARTOON! The Indianapolis Star has now apologized for and pulled from circulation a cartoon commenting on immigration that unleashed a firestorm of negative reaction from readers and the Internet. The controversy and fierce backlash began when Gary Varvel, the conservative political cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star published a cartoon on line that many who saw it openly said it was calling bigoted and racist. The cartoon, seen at left, shows an all white so-called American family sitting down for Thanksgiving Dinner. In a window you see three dark skinned individuals attempting to climb in the window to join the dinner. The caption on the cartoon from the head of the family hold the turkey says “Thanks to the President’s Immigration Order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving”. Outrage was expressed on Twitter and Facebook about the cartoon. Worse, someone at the Star thought the cartoon was over the top because either Varvel or Star editors made a change in the cartoon trying to make it more palatable. The original cartoon showed one of the “visitors” wearing a bushy mustache, which made the cartoon more obviously about some dark skinned Hispanics coming in the window. The mustache was edited out of the cartoon currently displayed on line. In an apology posted on the newspaper’s website indystar.com, Vice-President and Editor of the Indianapolis Star Jeff Taylor wrote, “On Friday, we posted a Gary Varvel cartoon atindystar.com that offended a wide group of readers. Many of them labeled it as racist. Gary did not intend to be racially insensitive in his attempt to express his strong views about President Barack Obama‘s decision to temporarily prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants living and working illegally in the United States. But we erred in publishing it.” Taylor said he was “uncomfortable” when the cartoon was first posted, but decided to leave it up. Now the newspaper has reserved course. Said Taylor, “We are removing the cartoon from the opinion section of our website, as well as an earlier version posted on Facebook that showed one character with a mustache.” (Read the full statement by Indianapolis Star Editor Jeff Taylor) STATEMENT BY INDY STAR EDITOR JEFF TAYLOR ON VARVEL THANKSGIVING CARTOON A political cartoonist is like a columnist or a talk show host. They are hired to express their opinions through humor and artwork. Gary Varvel, who’s been with the Star for 35 years is conservative. He doesn’t hide his political orientation or views. However, this cartoon struck a nerve and in my view shows bigoted and racist tendencies. Especially when many immigrants who come this country “illegally” aren’t Hispanics. They’re Asian, Black, even white. Despite the newspaper’s apology, you still can express outrage on the cartoon, by e-mailing the following people. Star Publisher: Karen.Ferguson@indystar.com; Editor: Jeff.Taylor@indysta.com and Varvel himself: Gary.Varvel@indystar.com.