The Controversial Viral Trump Sketch That Allegedly Got Cartoonist Sacked

WARNING: Graphic images.

A political cartoonist has had his contract with a Canadian newspaper publisher torn up after he posted a controversial cartoon featuring Donald Trump standing over the bodies of dead migrants to his social media over the weekend.

Michael de Adder's drawing featured Donald Trump clad in golf attire, looking down at two El Salvador migrants who drowned while trying to cross the Mexico border into Texas late last month.  Trump is shown standing beside a golf cart, asking, "Do you mind if I play through?"

(Image: Michael de Adder Twitter)

The deaths of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Angie Valeria stunned the world after a shocking photo was published of their bodies floating in the Rio Grande river.  The image reignited anger and debate surrounding America's immigration policy and the humanitarian crisis at the country's southern border.

The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico. Photo: AP

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After de Adder, a cartoonist whose work has featured in multiple New Brunswick publications over the last two decades, posted the drawing to his Twitter, it went viral, and has now been retweeted more than 6600 times and generated thousands of likes and comments.

Within days of his post, the artist tweeted that his contract with his employer had been terminated.

"The highs and lows of cartooning," he wrote. "Today I was let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick."

Many were quick to link his termination with the contentious Trump cartoon, including Wes Tyrell, the President of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists.

"De Adder was let go from his job drawing editorial cartoons for all the major New Brunswick newspapers 24 hours after his Donald Trump cartoon went viral on social media, a job he held for 17 years," Tyrell wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.

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"Although he has stated there was no reason given for his firing, the timing was no coincidence."

Tyrell claimed there were "a series of taboo subjects" artists working for New Brunswick News Inc "couldn't touch."

"One of these taboo subjects was Donald Trump," he wrote, going on to suggest that content that painted Trump in a negative light conflicted with the publisher's US corporate interests.

In a statement published to Twitter, New Brunswick newspaper the Telegraph-Journal called the allegations "a false narrative".

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"It is entirely incorrect to suggest Brunswick News Inc. cancelled its freelance contract with cartoonist Michael de Adder due to a cartoon depicting Donald Trump currently circulating on social media," the statement said.

"This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media.

"In fact, BNI was not even offered this cartoon by Mr de Adder.  The decision to bring back reader favourite Greg Perry was made long before this carton, and negotiations had been ongoing for weeks."

De Adder claimed on Twitter that his contract was indeed torn up over the Trump image, that the publisher refused to print previous images he'd created featuring Trump, and that "to get into a fight with my employer, especially in public, is not something I do lightly."

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"Does it matter if I was fired over one Donald Trump cartoon when every Donald Trump cartoon I submitted in the past year was axed?" he said.

"It got to the point where I didn't submit any Donald Trump cartoons for fear that I might be fired."

Thousands of Twitter users have backed de Adder throughout the saga with many angrily demanding he be reinstated.