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Cartoonists defend drawing Prime Minister with a big nose

Jun 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

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BIG NOSES: Tom Scott's depiction of Prime Minister John Key and Maori Party leader Pita Sharples.

WELLINGTON’S Jewish community is upset at the way cartoonists are portraying Prime Minister John Key.

A recent Tom Scott cartoon portraying John Key with a big nose has caused offence within the community, Wellington Jewish council president David Zwartz told a media forum on media and ethnicity.Jewish 1

Mr Zwartz says some Jewish people see it as a slight against the Jewish race, because he says a large nose was commonly used by the Nazis to portray Jews (right).

But Tom Scott says this is “tiresome and pathetic nonsense”.

“I drew Helen Clark and Jim Bolger with big noses, because they had big noses,” he told NewsWire in response to Mr Zwartz’s complaint.

Every cartoonist in New Zealand draws John Key with a big nose, he says.

A Jewish cartoonist colleague and friend exaggerates John Key’s nose more than he does: “He exaggerates John Key’s nose more than me and [he's] Jewish himself.

“I gave Muldoon a big jaw, and Lange a big belly.  Do I have to go on?”

Muldooncaricature

BROMHEAD'S MULDOON: The PM liked this one so much he bought it.

Veteran cartoonist Peter Bromhead agrees, and thinks that a person’s features are accentuated in cartoons.

“Cartoons are not drawn to appease certain groups,” he says.

Mr Zwartz made his comments at question time during a forum staged in Wellington by the Office of Ethnic Affairs that discussed the news media’s handling of stories on ethnicity and diversity.

Most of the senior journalists at the forum, including Dominion Post editor Bernadette Courtney, defended cartoonists, saying they tended to rather cruelly exaggerate the physical features of all public figures.

Mr Key’s mother and grandmother are Jewish and he has relatives in Israel, but does not consider himself overly religious.

NewsWire contacted the Prime Minister’s office for his reaction, but a spokesman said “we have no comment on this”.

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