Tuesday 28 July 2020

Not the Bell end after all

So much for Steve Bell getting cancelled by the Guardian

Steve Bell 'stunned' at reports he has been 'sacked': 'The whole thing has been a bit disturbing

"Dear Dominic
Thanks for your email. I would have appreciated a chat before you went to press because your story is not true. I would be delighted to talk sometime, over a pint of Harveys or whatever, but I would dearly love to know who confirmed it, if anyone did. I know there has been a twitter spat, and my own small contribution seems to have made things worse for me, but surely it is a necessity to at least talk to the subject of a story before publishing it. My contract as it stands is coming to an end next year, but since I have always been on an annual freelance contract, and this has always been a process of negotiation. 
You can imagine that this has been a very difficult time for me. I don’t know how the story that I’d been sacked got about, and nobody has bothered to approach me to confirm or deny it, but it highlights the problem with social media. I certainly didn’t put it out. My tweet was an attempt to counter the disgusting and damaging story that I have been sacked for alleged antisemitism, racism and misogyny. I’m now pretty certain that the Guardian didn’t either. I’m a bit stunned myself, but I’m hoping for the best. I had an approach from the Guardian Press office in response to all the nonsense on twitter, so they’re obviously in the dark too. Since I have for a long time been one of the Guardian’s most well-paid and prolific freelancers, and have been in negotiations with Kath Viner for some time about reducing my overall workload (I currently do seven cartoons a week), my contract as it stands will come to an end at the end of next April. Sadly this probably spells the end for the ‘If…’ strip after 39 and a half years, which I enjoy doing immensely, but is a hell of a lot of work for an old codger like me, particularly in full colour. I do hope to continue after next April doing large editorial cartoons.

What I am absolutely certain of is that, firstly, any changes to my contract are a result of budget cuts, and the full story of what this means for all Guardian staff and freelancers is only just becoming clear. Secondly, no one at the paper that I know of has ever suggested that I am being got rid of for reasons of alleged or supposed misogyny, racism or some other misdemeanour.

I must admit that the whole thing has been a bit disturbing, but I hope to be cartooning for a while yet. 
All the best 
Steve Bell
(emphasis mine)

Don’t you feel happy that the racist, antisemitic, misogynist old codger will continue to be generously remunerated for his imaginative beautifully drawn witty original satirical cartoons?

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