1st Amendment Rights Don’t Apply to Cartoonists

Tuesday, 26 October 2010 21:58 M. Taus Editorial Dept - Free Speech

At least not in St. Louis, Missouri. - In a strange twist of constitutional backwardness, a St. Louis, Missouri professional artist and editorial cartoonist, recently had his social network account closed by a local social arts community designed specifically for artists and their related work.

The online community MySLART which is based in St. Louis, and operated by Don Erickson, an advocate for artists; closed Michael Pohrer’s (aka: MJ) account for no particular reason, nor without any notice.

Quoted from the website, ‘MySLART.org provides free directory listings and websites for all artists, art galleries, art organizations, art professionals, and art supporters within 100 miles of downtown St. Louis.’

In an online interview, Pohrer told the NFP, “I thought this would turn out to be a great experience, and a chance to expand my fanbase and readership! I started interacting as normal through the social network and posted some albums that featured my illustrations and cartoon work.”

When asked about why he thought Erickson closed his account, Pohrer said, “I have no idea why my account was deleted. I was being a respectable Artist. Making lots of new readers and friends. The cartoons I was posting were generating a great response. Nor was I causing any problems, or bashing other artwork, which would be against my nature as an artist.”

Pohrer, who goes by MJ as his nom de plume, is an accomplished artist who has been in the business since 1979, and is a member of the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), International Cartoonist Conspiracy (I.C.C.), and The St. Louis Gateway Arts association.

He goes on to say, “I was contacted by another news source stating a possible fear of a corporation logo or entity infringement. The site (MySLART) displays artwork featuring full frontal nudity, and many other corporation logos in other artist’s artwork. In no way were any of the original deleted images libelous or defamatory, and I think he may have deleted other people’s accounts who were commenting on my cartoons.”

“The illustrations and cartoons produced here at PC Studios can be seen throughout various media sources internationally. Which include newspapers and magazines such as The Lincoln County Journal, The Nashville Free Press, Newsblaze Publications here in the United States, and Newropeans Magazine in Paris, France. As well as many publications including "Best Editorial Compilations", Comic books in the U.K., Anthologies, and exhibitions through Galleries and Museums", he explained. He is currently an Editorial Cartoonist for The National Free Press.

Recently he was honoured at the St. Louis Children's Illustrated Art Museum in Missouri. The Museum features artists who have published children's books.

Pohrer contacted Erickson when he noticed that three pieces of his artwork (seen below) had been removed from his album. He felt his Constitutional Rights, namely the 1st Amendment, was being violated. Declaring that had he known that the MySLART Social Community would censor a member’s material he would not have joined.

Pohrer went on to say that he reminded Erickson in an email message, that he lived in the United States, the Land of the Brave with the Freedoms of Speech, Expression and the Press, being a major part of the U.S. Constitution.

Pohrer discovered his account had been promptly closed immediately after his email message to Erickson. “This is just flat out blatant censorship! It's just sketch work and satire,” said Pohrer.

The NFP tried to contact Don Erickson at MySLART by email to set up an interview, but unfortunately Erickson wouldn’t comment.

by M. Taus, for NFP News

Image : The two Sketch Pages featured Abbott and Costello, and Invader Zim with Gir that were first removed from Pohrer’s Album.


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