A French satirical magazine famous for its provocative and inflammatory cartoons was met with backlash on Thursday after it released a cover that characterized Hurricane Harvey victims as neo-Nazis.
The cover for its Friday magazine showed an image of drowning limbs saluting Nazi flags, accompanied by the text: “God exists. He drowned all the neo-Nazis of Texas.”
- Charlie Hebdo
Predictably, the cartoon provoked some – occasionally misguided – backlash on social media:
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 31, 2017
— Byron York (@ByronYork) August 31, 2017
Was going to go off on Charlie Hebdo for that sick Texas cover.
But then I realized that's what they want. Fuck you. I'm not sharing it
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) August 31, 2017
The French publication has long courted and embraced controversy over its topical cartoons. After publishing images that some Muslims found offensive, the publication was the target of a terrorist attack at its Paris office in 2015 that left 12 people dead.
It has continued its anti-left and anti-institutional cartoons since the attack, garnering negative news coverage for its depiction of Italian earthquake victims as pasta and for a series of cartoons mocking the symbolic value of a photo of a dead Syrian refugee that went viral in 2015.
Charlie Hebdo wasn’t the only publication to face criticism for its cartoonists’ commentary on the hurricane.
After an outcry on Wednesday, Politico deleted a tweet with a cartoon depicting a person in a Confederate flag shirt being rescued from a flooded house with a secessionist sign, which critics said was insensitive to flood victims.
The cartoonist, Matt Wuerker, defended his cartoon, saying it skewered secessionists and those who disparage the federal government writ large while taking its services for granted.
“As a political cartoonist, I try to get people to think – to consider the ironies and subtleties of the world we live in,” Wuerker said in an email to Business Insider.
“This cartoon went with an extreme example of anti-government types – Texas secessionists – benefitting from the heroism of federal government rescuers,” Wuerker continued. “It of course was not aimed at Texans in general, any more than a cartoon about extremists marching in Charlottesville could be construed as a poke at all Virginians. My heart is with all the victims of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction and those risking their lives to save others.”