St. Paul’s Department of Human Rights named the St. Paul Pioneer Press in a civil complaint, claiming the newspaper discriminated against black athletes in a May 18 editorial cartoon titled “Plantation.”
Tyrone Terrill, director of the department, filed a “director’s charge” against the newspaper June 7.
Editorial cartoonist Kirk Anderson depicted two black basketball players on a court with two white fans saying: “Of course we don’t let them learn to read or write.” Terrill said the cartoon’s slavery implication went too far.
He asserts in the complaint that the newspaper “discriminated against African-American student-athletes past, present and future in the area of public accommodations on the basis of race in violation of St. Paul Human Rights Ordinance, Section 183.07.”
University officials immediately condemned the newspaper, formally issuing a statement.
University President Mark Yudof and Board of Regents Chairman William Hogan II issued a statement that said: “The racist overtones of the cartoon and the implication that the University treats its student athletes as ‘slaves’ on a ‘plantation’ is simply beyond the considerable editorial latitude afforded to responsible journalists.”
Laura Davis, lawyer for the Pioneer Press, denied Terrill’s charges, saying the newspaper plans to “vigorously defend” its position.
— Compiled from staff and wire reports