A Pennsylvania newspaper is dropping the popular comic strip Non Sequitur over a profane message about President Donald Trump drawn into one of its panels.
Rod Vodenichar, the publisher and general manager of the Butler Eagle, said he made the decision after a reader complained that there was a vulgar message about the president in the comic strip by cartoonist Wiley Miller.
The Sunday comic strip appeared in black and white, and encouraged readers to color in its panels. The profane message appeared in the bottom right of the comic’s second panel.
“Neither the Butler Eagle nor any other newspaper that includes this strip had an opportunity to remove it even if they had discovered it before distribution,” Vodenichar said on the newspaper’s website. “We apologize that such a disgusting trick was perpetuated on the reading public. The Butler Eagle will discontinue that comic immediately.”
The Butler Eagles wasn’t alone. The Dallas Morning News also announced it would be dropping the comic strip, which editor Mike Wilson called one of “the easier editing decisions we will make all year."
“Unfortunately, this time the artist decided to go around his editors and even his own syndicate to publish something he must have known we wouldn’t accept. We can’t trust him, so we are done with Non Sequitur,” Wilson said. "We’ll have no trouble finding a better way to spend the $8,000 we would’ve paid for that strip.”
According to Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes Non Sequitur to more than 700 newspapers across the country, the inclusion of the profane message was an oversight in its editing process. The syndicate confirmed to the Washington Post at least a dozen newspapers have dropped the strip in response.
“If we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed," the company said in a statement. "We apologize to Non Sequitur’s clients and readers for our oversight.”
Miller declined to comment when reached by the Inquirer, but told the Washington Post he had forgotten he drew in a message to the president until he opened up his newspaper on Sunday.
“It was not intended for public consumption, and I meant to white it out before submitting it, but forgot to," Miller told the Post. “Had I intended to make a statement to be understood by the readers, I would have done so in a more subtle, sophisticated manner.”
That didn’t stop Miller from hinting at the hidden message on Twitter, writing that, "Some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg from Leonardo Bear-Vinci.”
The cartoon and its profane language remained up on the GoComics’ website until Monday afternoon, when it was replaced by a sanitized version that didn’t include the message for Trump.
This is not the first time Miller has gone after Trump within the panels of his satirical comic strip. Back in 2016, he drew a cartoon depicting a man wearing Klu Klux Klan robes labeled “I’m with Trump.” He also included Trump as a jester in a 2017 cartoon about the legend of the Sword in the Stone.