WARNING: The story below contains a cartoon that depicts a widely-publicized photo of two people who drowned.
A Canadian cartoonist’s illustration of President Donald Trump playing golf over the bodies of two drowned migrants went viral Wednesday. Two days later, Michael de Adder said on Twitter that he had been let go by a publishing company in New Brunswick, Canada.
De Adder’s illustration depicted Trump asking the two dead migrants, “Do you mind if I play through?”
The cartoon refers to the image of Oscar Alberto Martínez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, lying face down in water surrounded by reeds. The two drowned while attempting to cross the Rio Grande River to get into the United States.
“The highs and lows of cartooning. Today I was just let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick,” De Adder tweeted. He later clarified that he had technically been under contract to work for Brunswick News Inc., and wasn’t an employee who could be fired.
Brunswick News Inc. responded in a statement on Sunday that “it is entirely incorrect to suggest” that it canceled a freelance contract with de Adder over the Trump cartoon.
“This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media,” the publishing company wrote. It said that de Adder never offered the Trump cartoon to the company and had already decided to “bring back” another cartoonist it said was popular with readers. “[N]egotiations had been ongoing for weeks,” it stated.
De Adder tweeted that he would bounce back from losing the job and that he just had to “recoup a percentage of my weekly income.” De Adder has a book he said will be released in September.
He did not respond to a request for further comment from CNN Business.
Wes Tyrell, President of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists, a professional group for artists, claimed that the Brunswick newspapers avoided Trump as a subject of its cartoons — and de Adder “was doing them with regularity for the last couple of years, like any cartoonist.”
De Adder’s Trump depiction was the latest controversy surrounding political cartoons. Earlier this month, The New York Times said it had decided to do away with editorial cartoons altogether following outrage over an errantly published an anti-Semitic cartoon in its international edition.