KCCI- Rick Friday has been giving farmers a voice and a laugh every Friday for two decades through his cartoons in Farm News. Now the long-time Iowa farm cartoonist tells KCCI that he has been fired.
Friday announced Sunday that his job was over after 21 years in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
"Again, I fall hard in the best interest of large corporations. I am no longer the Editorial Cartoonist for Farm News due to the attached cartoon which was published yesterday. Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and cancelled their advertisement with the paper, thus, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of its Friday cartoons after 21 years of service and over 1,090 published cartoons to over 24,000 households per week in 33 counties of Iowa.
"I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon.
"That's okay, hopefully my children and my grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, will shine light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the county."
I can't believe Rick is doing this to me. I thought for sure I was going to side with a (former) cartoonist after he was callously let go by the 'Farm News' for drawing up a controversial sketch that directly jeopardized their advertisement money. Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to do so. Not because I think a person whose job it is to make jokes in a regional newspaper should have his content censored, but because I refuse to defend jokes that aren't funny. In fact, this isn't even really a joke. Something doesn't automatically become a joke because it's written into an air bubble coming from the mouth of a caricature. That was just a direct insult towards a large corporation that - at least partially - helped fund Rick's occupation.
Research? Facts? Was this dude a cartoonist for the Farm News or the Farmers' Almanac? I hope his children and grandchildren NEVER see that cartoon, because I want them to see their father and grandfather as the man that entertained 33 different counties for over 20 years. I don't want them to remember old Rick as the stick in the mud that used his comedic platform to push his corporate policy. I want them to see him as the man that brought a smile to the faces of Midwesterners all across the great state of Iowa, not the man that tried to unite the state against big business through the use of an exaggerated sketch. I have no doubt that Rick got canned because he cost his employer money, but I'm sure the fact that he didn't even fulfill his job description in the process made that decision rather easy.