`Doonesbury' apology set

May 22, 2004

Cartoonist Garry Trudeau plans to issue an apology on his Web site late tonight to anyone who might be offended by tomorrow's Doonesbury comic strip, which due to "poor timing" features the image of a man's head on a platter.

Trudeau drew the strip in April, before the beheading of an American citizen, Nicholas Berg, in Iraq, a videotape of which was posted on a Web site on May 11. Doonesbury's distributor, Universal Press Syndicate, alerted newspapers on May 14, but many newspapers, including The Sun, had already printed the comic sections that will be distributed in tomorrow's editions.

Universal said the cartoonist would post a message on his Web site, doonesbury.com, saying, "Today's strip was unfortunately overtaken by events," and that the image is "now clearly inappropriate."

The strip depicts the character Boopsie discussing the loss of her coaching job after suspending the university football team during a sex scandal investigation. The final panel shows her friend Joanie daydreaming about serving the head of the university president who fired her on a platter.

Universal offered a replacement strip to newspapers that had not already printed their comic sections. Last month, some newspapers edited an April 23 Doonesbury comic strip in which a character injured while fighting in Iraq used an expletive. At least two newspapers pulled the strip altogether.

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