A newspaper has dropped a syndicated cartoon after finding an insult aimed at President Donald Trump tucked in a corner of the strip.
On Sunday, Pennsylvania’s Butler Eagle included the comic strip “Non Sequitur” drawn by Wiley Miller as it always does. However, this particular cartoon, featuring a “Bearaissance” character named Leonardo Bear Vinci, had a message scribbled in the lower-right-hand corner reading, “We fondly say go fuck yourself to Trump.”
Ron Vodenichar, the publisher and general manager of the Eagle, said in an article on the paper’s website on Sunday that it was made aware of the message by a reader. He said it was “apparently placed there by someone in the creative department of the creator of the comic strip or the syndication which controls it” and indicated that “neither the Butler Eagle nor any other newspaper that includes this strip had an opportunity to remove it even if they had discovered it before distribution.”
“We apologize that such a disgusting trick was perpetuated on the reading public. The Butler Eagle will discontinue that comic immediately,” wrote Vodenichar.
Miller teased the message in a tweet on Sunday, writing, “Some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg from Leonardo Bear-Vinci. Can you find it?”
Miller said in a statement to HuffPost on Monday that he initially “didn’t notice the scribbling that has now caught fire” when he opened the paper on Sunday morning as he had scribbled the note eight weeks ago and forgotten about it.
“I now remember that I was particularly aggravated that day about something the president had done or said, and so I lashed out in a rather sophomoric manner as instant therapy,” Miller said in the statement, adding that the message was “NOT intended for public consumption, which is why it’s scribbled.”
“Had I intended to make a statement to be understood by the readers, I would have done so in a more subtle, sophisticated manner. This coming Saturday will mark the 27th anniversary of Non Sequitur, and in all that time, I have never done anything like this, nor do I intend to do so in the future.”
According to his website for “Non Sequitur,” the strip is syndicated in more than 700 newspapers and has received four National Cartoonists Society divisional awards.
While it’s not immediately clear what drove Miller to scribble the insult to Trump on the Feb. 10 cartoon, Miller has not shied away from sharing his disdain for the president via Twitter.
This story has been updated with a statement from Miller.