Cartoon Controversy
Letter by Jackie Kido, October 27, 1999

The Honolulu Weekly's role as a gutsy tabloid willing to take on those with influence and power is vital -- particularly in a community that faces the prospect of losing one of its two major dailies.

However, having a cartoonist that lets his established bigotry get in the way of illustrating what is true and fair is appalling.

An all but official GOP artist, John Pritchett's cartoons were extensively used on the Web pages of Republicans and their support groups throughout the last gubernatorial election. And these islands will never forget his racist drawing depicting local people speaking thick Pidgin, unable to utter a single mindless sentence without swearing. It was so reprehensible that U.S. Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka held a news conference denouncing Pritchett. See the cartoon

His latest caricature depicts some kind of conspiracy or Circle of Money going from state Transportation Director Kazu Hayashida's son's engineering firm to Gov. Cayetano (HW, 10/13/99). The sketch is a travesty. Weeks before the matter gained public attention, Attorney General Earl Anzai saw there was an appearance of conflict and urged the governor to cancel the contract -- which he did. Even though the Ethics Commission cleared Hayashida in advance to award it! Pritchett's portrayal of the governor as a wrongdoer in this case is Pritchett's prejudice in action.

Word has it that Pritchett delivers his cartoons minutes before press time, so it's hard to blame the Weekly for the content. These are much more than silly cartoons. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The paper should find an unbiased cartoonist with integrity.

Jackie Kido
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor

Honolulu Weekly editors respond: (11/3/99) Pounding Pritchett

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