Marlette’s offense: ‘What Would Mohammed drive?’

“….And offend [Doug Marlette] did. In 2002, when he drew a cartoon showing a man in Arab headdress driving a Ryder rental truck hauling a nuclear missile — under the caption ‘What Would Mohammed Drive? — he set off a campaign orchestrated by the Council on American-Islamic Relations; he and the newspaper received more than 20,000 e-mail messages from people who accused him of bigotry and blasphemy and some who included death threats.

“Writing about the incident in The Tallahassee Democrat, where Mr. Marlette was then on staff, he said: ‘In my 30-year career I have regularly drawn cartoons that offend religious fundamentalists and true believers of every stripe, a fact that I tend to list in the “accomplishments” column of my résumé. I have outraged fundamentalist Christians by skewering Jerry Falwell, Roman Catholics by needling the pope, and Jews by criticizing Israel. I have vast experience upsetting people with my art.”

— From “Doug Marlette, Cartoonist Who Won the Pulitzer Prize, Dies at 57” by Motoko Rich in the New York Times (July 11, 2007)

Marlette, a Greensboro native, last lived in Hillsborough. His 1988 Pulitzer recognized cartoons he had drawn about PTL at the Charlotte Observer.

 

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