Sunday 19 July 2020


Steve Bell

Controversial newspaper cartoonist Steve Bell is to leave The Guardian after 39 years.  Following news of job cuts at the troubled newspaper it has been confirmed that Bell's contract will not be renewed.  Bell has attracted criticism over the years for various cartoons, most notably several depictions of Benjamin Netanyahu that drew accusations of anti-Semitism.  In 2012 he depicted Netanyahu as a puppet master holding Tony Blair and the then Foreign Secretary William Hague.  In 2019 he repeated the 'puppet master' trope, this time drawing Boris Johnson and Donald Trump as Netanyahu's puppets.  That cartoon also featured Labour's Tom Watson as a 'witchfinder' character who was hunting down anti-Semites in the party (see below).

Among Bell's defenders was none other than the then Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell.

In recent years Bell's trademarks have been his renderings of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.  He always draws the US president with a toilet seat for a head while Boris has a backside for a face.  The PM appears like this in what is perhaps Bell's most infamous cartoon - his unashamedly racist depiction of the current Home Secretary.  In March this year he drew Priti Patel as a cow, an animal that is sacred to Hindus.

The newspaper refused to remove the cartoon from its online content and neither Bell or his employers apologised.  Would they have dared publish a cartoon of a Muslim politician as a pig?

Bell's contract doesn't finish until next year, so Guardian readers will have to endure his shite cartoons for a while longer - unless the rag goes bump between now and then.