Cartoonist apologises for offensive Zuckerberg cartoon

26 Feb 2014

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook

A cartoonist has issued an apology after he depicted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a hook-nosed, squid-like creature.

The cartoon itself depicts Zuckerberg as a multi-limbed squid with each tentacle latched onto a different computer, and featured him with a hook-nose, a depiction of a Jewish stereotype.

Jewish groups were enraged by the cartoon, which appeared in Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and served as a reminder of the country’s dark period under Nazi Germany, when the Jews were regularly featured in political cartoons as an octopus sitting on top of the Earth with a tentacle in each continent.

Despite being born into a Jewish family, Zuckerberg now considers himself atheist. The cartoonist, Burkhard Mohr, has denied any racist intention in the cartoon but used the multi-limbed squid as a reference to Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp for about US$16bn.

In a statement (in German) the cartoonist said: “Anti-Semitism and racism are ideologies which are totally foreign to me. It is the last thing I would do, to defame people because of their nationality, religious view or origin.”

He later went on to say the representation of the squid was also a reference to the squid from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise and was an unhappy coincidence.

The newspaper also apologised for Mohr’s cartoon and has since replaced it with a faceless version.

Facebook cartoon

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic