A political illustrator working for a major farm publication in Iowa was fired Saturday after his latest piece portrayed Monsanto and other Big Ag companies in a negative light.
Farm News political cartoonist Rick Friday received word over the weekend that his latest cartoon, entitled “Profit,” would be his last.
In the black & white illustration published last Friday, Rick depicted two farmers discussing their dwindling profits.
“I wish there was more profit in farming,” one man says.
“There is,” replies the other farmer. “In year 2015 the CEOs of Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer and John Deere combined made more money than 2,129 Iowa farmers.”
On Saturday, a Farm News editor contacted Friday to inform him the publication would no longer accept illustrations due to the controversial nature of the “Profit” cartoon.
“In the eyes of some, Big Ag cannot be criticized or poked fun at,” explained the email. “The cartoon resulted in one seed dealer canceling his advertising with Farm News.”
In a Facebook post Saturday, Rick held firm his cartoon had been well-researched, and made it known he was proud he had shaken up the establishment by exercising his First Amendment rights.
“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 country,” the artist wrote.
In subsequent cartoons shared on his Facebook page, Friday excoriated his former bosses, with one image showing a man wearing a press badge siding with the Big Ag corporations.
“When it comes to altering someone’s opinion or someone’s voice for the purpose of wealth, I have a problem with that,” Friday said in a comment to KCCI. “It’s our constitutional right to free speech and our constitutional right to free press.”