ROXBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Roxboro Courier-Times issued an apology Monday afternoon after publishing a racially-charged cartoon in last Thursday's paper, and on Tuesday publisher and editor Johnny Whitfield resigned effective immediately, the newspaper said.
In a written statement Monday to ABC11, publisher and editor Whitfield called the cartoon "insensitive" and said, "We are not a racist newspaper and we have cut ties with the cartoonist that drew the cartoon and we will no longer be publishing his material."
The cartoon, attributed to cartoonist Tom Stiglich, depicts a black man in a face mask stealing a purse from a white woman. While the woman screams for help, the man is depicted saying, "We defunded the police."
Many readers took to the newspaper's Facebook page, saying that the post fed into racist negative stereotypes of black men and misrepresented the "defund the police" movement.
Whitfield also published an editorial apologizing for printing the cartoon, saying in part, "I should have seen beyond the printed words in the editorial cartoon and considered the racial message that cartoon sent. I did not and I am sorry."
Luther Perkins of Personians Against Injustice and Racism said his group wants to talk to the owners of the newspaper to get a sense of what they plan on changing.
"That's something I can't condone because that's going against everything we're trying to build up," Perkins said. "it's making a divide in our city. We already got enough going on, we don't need any racial divide showing black men as being criminals or monsters because that's what we've been portrayed as."
Perkins said the cartoon's timing in the midst of a racially charged cultural climate just makes things worse.
"It really destroys what we're building up for the future generations to have a better life -- to focus on people living life without the challenges of the color of their skin," he said. "Equality is everything, and that's our goal is to be seen as equal and that picture depicted us as monsters or thugs and criminals or thugs and that's what we've been fighting."
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