Well-known local cartoonist draws sharp criticism over Bevin sketch


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Well-known, Herald-Leader editorial cartoonist, Joel Pett is no stranger to criticism but it’s rare his vacation is spent responding to that criticism.

It’s all stemming from Thursday morning’s editorial cartoon. The sketch features Governor-Elect Matt Bevin, hiding under the desk as Pett describes, “he doesn’t even occupy yet.” Atop that desk are framed photos what the viewer is led to believe are Bevin’s children. Another character is explaining to the fear-stricken Bevin that the photos are in fact of Bevin’s children, not terrorists.

- Advertisement -

In an interview, Pett explains the cartoon is based on Bevin’s stance on Syrian refugees in Kentucky in context of his family, made up of adopted children from different ethnic backgrounds. The backlash has ranged from insensitivity to racism, including Bevin’s camp.

A statement from them reads as follows:

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed, today, the Lexington Herald-Leader chose to articulate with great clarity the deplorably racist ideology of “cartoonist”, Joel Pett. Shame on Mr. Pett for his deplorable attack on my children and shame on the editorial controls that approved this overt racism. Let me be crystal clear, the tone of racial intolerance being struck by the Herald-Leader has no place in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and will not be tolerated by our administration.”

Pett says the cartoon has nothing to do with racism and is simply pointing out Bevin’s stance on the refugees.