The New Bern Sun Journal is apologizing for publishing a cartoon of the late Nelson Mandela that some are calling controversial.
The cartoon was featured in Sunday's Sun Journal. But the paper has since received about a dozen calls from upset readers, saying the cartoon is an inappropriate portrayal of the late South African president.
The Sun Journal is now apologizing for the cartoon. In Wednesday's edition, the paper dedicated a page to Nelson Mandela and his achievements. On that same page is the paper's apology.
"That should not have been published in the paper," said editor Randy Foster. "We regret publishing it and we hope we can do better next time."
The Sun Journal has an agreement to run images from Cagle Cartoons, a nationally syndicated cartoon service. The paper told NewsChannel 12 that an employee chose the cartoon with the intention to memorialize Mandela.
But NewsChannel 12 has received several complaints about the cartoon.
"They have him looking like an ape," Camille Klotz said. "That's not the way he should be remembered."
"It's disrespectful," said Bobby Styron. "I can't believe they would print something like this."
However, not everyone found the cartoon to be offensive.
"I don't get what the big deal is," Zachary Smith said. "It's freedom of speech."
"I thought it was just a way to memorialize him, that's all," said Katie Gettmann.
NewsChannel 12 tracked down the artist who drew the cartoon. The artist said it was not intended to be disrespectful and that he drew the image as a way to honor Mandela.