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Backlash continues for "Fruit Roll Up" cartoonist; but is it too much?

Backlash continues for "Fruit Roll Up" cartoonist; but is it too much?

CREATED Oct 19, 2012

Reporter: Cory Marshall

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Thousands have signed an online petition trying to get  D.C. Parsons, the student cartoonist behind the now infamous "Fruit Roll Up" cartoon,  fired-- it worked.

"I really meant no foul intent.  I sincerely meant it as humor and not any sort of malicious connotations whatsoever," Parsons told 9OYS, Thursday. 

But it's not just students sounding off. On his Facebook page, Arizona Daily Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons posted, "My guess is the juvenile nitwit came upon his offensive pun, mindlessly thought it clever and wrapped a lame toon around it. This cartoon does little more than afflict the afflicted, comfort bigots and amuse bullies."

Those are biting words against the student journalist, but the fact that he is a student is brewing a conversation of its own.

9OYS spoke with Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute- a go-to group for all things media ethics.

"It's okay to put some heat on him. He's a thought leader. It's okay for people to complain and it's right for them to hold him responsible," Tompkins said.

"This [should] be a learning kind of incident, but not a career ending one. I hope not, " continued Tompkins.

This isn't the first time a student journalist has come under fire. Back in March, a University of Texas at Austin student published the "colored boy" cartoon. The cartoon criticizes the media's portrayal of the Trayvon Martin case. The cartoonist apologized but was the later fired.

"I do hope  that people will recognize that this is a pretty young person. There's a reason for having student newspapers and part of it is to help journalists learn their craft and they're going to make a lot of mistakes," Tompkins said.

9OYS spoke with the editor-in-chief of the Daily Wildcat, Kristina Bui. She says a new PDF version of the paper is online--sans the cartoon.

According to Bui, the Wildcat staff has removed everything within their control but as she says in her online letter from the editor,  "The Internet will not let you forget your mistakes."