When South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone came under fire and received death threats for depicting the prophet Muhammad on Comedy Central (a practice some Muslims find deeply offensive), Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris created a sketch suggesting that today be “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”
The idea relied on the middle school logic of “they can’t suspend us all!” and suggested that if for one day the internet was flooded with drawn images of Muhammad, backlash against Muhammad drawers would be useless. However, by the end of April- after a radio interview Norris vehemently says she regrets, the cartoonist began rapidly distancing herself from the movement she said was “made viral.” In a lengthy letter on her website (below), Norris exercises her wharrgarbl muscle strenuously when she should have really just typed “please don’t kill me” over and over.
If you haven’t seen the Facebook group, the webpage or Wikipedia’s extensive coverage of the event, you might not have known that some countries have banned Facebook and YouTube over the controversy until at least the end of May. What it seems that Norris and Pakistan don’t really get is that nothing is “made viral.” Once something gets out there and passed around, it’s an entirely unstoppable force. Unfortunately for Norris, she is likely to be associated with the event for as long as its popularity endures.
Full text of Norris’s letter:
I did NOT ‘declare’ May 20 to be “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” I made a cartoon about the television show South Park being censored. (I wish that was what our energies were going toward — protesting revolutionmuslim.com’s threat to Comedy Central, and Comedy Central’s over reaction to it which set America on a slippery slope toward censorship!)
At any rate, my satirical poster, with a fake ‘group’ behind it (Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor) was taken seriously, hijacked and made viral.
I never started a facebook page; I never set up any place for pepole to send drawings to and I never recieved any drawings (I see that two European graduate students and anotherwoman started the facebook pages).
My one-off cartoon does not work well as a long-term plan. The vitriol this ‘day’ has brought out, of people who only want to draw obscene images, is offensive to Muslims who did nothing to endanger our right to expression in the first place. Only Viacom and Revolution Muslim are to blame, so…draw them instead!
I apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this ‘day’ be called off.
Thank you to those who are turning this crazy thing into an opportunity for dialogue.
Oh, and screw all of you who are mad at me for not leading a ‘movement’. My cartoon was the beginning and end of what I had to say about this creepy, historic censorship. (By the way, where is Cowardly Central now? Pretty dang quiet. Guess they can dish it out but can’t take it.)
P.S. The nicest email I have received have been from Muslims.
(I regret going on the Dave Ross radio show on April 25th, before my cartoon went viral; my ego took me there. It was a mistake to go there when I wasn’t clear about things. I let myself get side-swiped. Crap!)