Alligator apologizes for Thursday's 'SexToon'


Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.

The Independent Florida Alligator apologized Monday for a racy cartoon picturing a couple donating to Haiti relief efforts while having sex.

The so-called SexToon ran Thursday in the student newspaper. In its editorial, the paper's editorial board apologized "if the execution fell a little flat" in the cartoon.

"Our cartoon was simply an acknowledgment of the fact that people are joining together to get behind a cause," the editorial said.

The cartoon depicted a naked couple having sex on a table while the man told the woman to text "Haiti" to 90999, which makes a donation to the American Red Cross for relief efforts. Alligator editor Chelsea Keenan said the local chapter of the Red Cross contacted the paper with concerns.

"We didn't want the Red Cross to be offended," she said. "Like we said in the editorial, we think they're doing a great job ... We wanted to promote it in a funny way."

While the paper is independent from the university, the cartoon provoked at least one e-mail to UF President Bernie Machen. Marcus Moore, a program assistant with the College of Engineering, referred to the cartoon in the e-mail as "nothing less than pure pornography."

"What would you tell your young grandson or granddaughter if they were to bring you this picture and asked you what it means?!?" he wrote.

Keenan said the SexToon, drawn by journalism major Cynthia Despres, started this semester as a weekly feature in the paper. The paper already had a sex column, and students expressed interested in similar content, she said.

The feature previously received criticism from Rachel Kopec, president of UF's chapter of the Network of Enlightened Women. In a blog for the national organization, a group of conservative women, she took issue with the cartoon and a column defending cheating as "a necessary evil."

"This is exactly why our organization exists," Kopec said in explaining her reaction. "We think that the majority of women on campus don't agree with the SexToon and the sex column."

Keenan said the cartoon, which is a collaboration between Despres and editors, might be less graphic in the future.

"You never really know what's going to offend people," she said.

Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com.

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