Kansas newspaper publishes cartoon comparing wearing masks to Holocaust

The publisher, chairman of the county's Republican Party, apologized if he offended any Holocaust survivors or Jews.

A mask is produced on Israel's first production line for N95 masks (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
A mask is produced on Israel's first production line for N95 masks
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
A weekly newspaper in Anderson County, Kansas, sparked backlash when it published a cartoon on its Facebook page comparing the state's order to wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic to the Holocaust, the Associated Press reported.
The cartoon in question, as seen on the Facebook page of the Anderson County Review, depicts Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly wearing a face mask with a Jewish Star of David as people behind her are loaded onto a train. The caption reads "Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask... and step onto the cattle car."

The newspaper posted the cartoon Friday, when Kelly's mask order took effect, and saw hundreds of critical comments, AP reported.
Adding to the controversy is the fact that the paper's publisher, Dane Hicks, also serves as chairman of the Republican Party in Anderson county.
Kelly released a statement later condemning the cartoon, saying that  “Mr. Hicks’ decision to publish antisemitic imagery is deeply offensive and he should remove it immediately,” AP reported.
Criticism also came from Kansas Republican Party chairman Michael Kuckelman, who said posting the cartoon on Facebook is “inappropriate,” while Kansas Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley (Democrat) called it “appalling” and disgusting,” calling on the paper to fire anyone involved in is publishing, AP reported.
Equating an action meant to save lives to genocide is “incoherent” and putting the Star of David on the mask is antisemitic for suggesting that her actions were the result of manipulation by  “nefarious Jews,” Kansas Interfaith Action executive director Rabbi Moti Rieber said, adding that “This thing is like the trifecta of garbage,” AP reported.
In an email to AP that he later published uncut online, Hicks gave a detailed defense of his actions.
“Political editorial cartoons are gross over-caricatures designed to provoke debate and response – that's why newspapers publish them – fodder for the marketplace of ideas. The topic here is the governmental overreach which has been the hallmark of Governor Kelly's administration,” Hicks wrote.
“The most telling example of authoritarian government I can think of is Nazi Germany – you'll recall various media personalities and Trump haters constantly making the analogy between the president and Adolf Hitler – I certainly have more evidence of that kind of totalitarianism in Kelly's actions, in an editorial cartoon sort of way, than Trump's critics do, yet they persist in it daily.”
Regarding apologies, Hicks wrote: “Apologies: To whom exactly? The critics on the Facebook page? Facebook is a cesspool and I only participate to develop readership. I post much of my writing there and my trolls are like family. I like to refer to them as my narcissistic flea circus - I make them jump and I give them free reign to attack me for my views and only rebuke them for vulgar language. I would never apologize to them. They're liberal Marxist parasites who are literally applauding and in some cases taking part in the burning and commandeering of both public and private property in our country. As a traditional American, they are my enemy.”
He added, however, that “If there are Holocaust survivors or their relatives or Jews who take offense to the image, I would certainly apologize and I intended no slight to them. But then again, they better than anyone should appreciate the harbingers of governmental overreach and the present but tender seedlings of tyranny.”