Case Number: 904

Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2002

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Southland Times

Ruling Categories: Cartoons
Taste Lack of

The New Zealand Press Council did not uphold a complaint made by Ken Stuart about a Murray Ball cartoon strip ‘Footrot Flats’ published in The Southland Times in July this year.

The cartoon strip featured Dog, the main character, serenading his ‘girlfriend’ Jesse who is upstairs in a two storey house looking down from the window at Dog.

Ken Stuart believed that the cartoon had human connotations, as Jesse had been shown as being in a house rather than her usual dogbox, and he objected on the grounds that it was repulsive to relate a human love scene to that of an animal mating.

The Footrot Flats strip depicts Dog in a scenario that is consistent with the portrayals of Dog’s love life. Humour, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. In this instance Ken Stuart has read into the cartoon connotations that require a somewhat unusual logic to arrive at his conclusions that the cartoon was offensive. The complaint was not upheld.