The New York Times on Monday apologised for a cartoon they published which readers complained was racist in nature. The apology came after the cartoon experienced a backlash on the social media over the last few days.
The apology letter posted on Facebook said:
“A large number of readers have complained about a recent editorial cartoon in The International New York Times, about India’s foray into space exploration. The intent of the cartoonist, Heng Kim Song, was to highlight how space exploration is no longer the exclusive domain of rich, Western countries. Mr Heng, who is based in Singapore, uses images and text – often in a provocative way – to make observations about international affairs. We apologise to readers who were offended by the choice of images in this cartoon. Mr Heng was in no way trying to impugn India, its government or its citizens. We appreciate that readers have shared their feedback, which we welcome. – Andrew Rosenthal, Editorial Page Editor.”
Andrew Rosenthal said that the cartoon was in no way meant to ‘impugn India, its government or its citizens’.The cartoon published by the New York Times showed a farmer, accompanied by a cow, knocking on the door of the Elite Space Club where two men sit reading a newspaper which has India’s space mission on the front page.
This came at a time when India succeeded in it’s much anticipated Mars mission, which is also touted to be the cheapest interplanetary space mission ever. The Mangalyaan robotic probe costed Rs.4.5 billions and was launched from the Sriharikota facility on 5 November, 2014.
India’s achievement was appreciated all over the world and it brought it at par with the United States, Russia and Europe who have previously sent missions to Mars.