Hall of Fame Cartoonist Fired for Plagiarism

Journalists aren’t the only ones getting caught for plagiarism. The Tulsa World fired their longtime editorial cartoonist on Thursday.

David Simpson, who was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame, re-created a cartoon originally published in The Hartford Courant in 1981. The cartoon ran in The Tulsa World on June 7, 2005. Read the story here

In an AP story Robert E. Lorton III, the publisher for The Tulsa World, had this to say:

"Dave is a tremendous creative talent, and his cartoons have been enjoyed by our readers for years," he said. "However, plagiarism is the cardinal sin of a newsroom, and all those who are employed by us to gather, report or comment on the news are stewards of the public."

Though The Hartford Courant notified The Tulsa World on the cartoon in August, no one from The Tulsa World responded. It was only after a Tulsa World reporter found the original cartoon and artist on www.editorialcartoonists.com and voiced concerns did The Tulsa World management do anything. I’m sure they assumed their beloved cartoonist would never copy someone else’s work.

What was Simpson’s excuse? He found an unsigned copy of the cartoon in his creative files and just assumed it was his. He then redrew the cartoon and submitted it to The Tulsa World.

The Daily Cartoonist, a blog that covers the news of the newspaper cartoonist industry, pointed out, “You’d think after several years you’d recognize your own drawing style.” I don’t know who Simpson thought he was fooling with his ridiculous excuse.

Simpson has been working for The Tulsa World since 1992. Before that he had worked for The Tulsa Tribune.

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