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Barnes & Noble has decided to remove a calendar by a Christian cartoonist in response to complaints by homosexual advocacy organizations.
Titled “I’m Not Gay, I’m Just a Sissy,” the 2012 wall calendar by cartoonist Joe King was pulled earlier this week from Barnes & Noble’s website due to pressure from blogs and other groups opposed to it. King, who has drawn large numbers of comics on various issues including politics, told The Christian Post that he did not expect the level of backlash he received for his work.
“This was just another block of work according to its subject matter,” said King, who noted that many of the comics were from previous years and had not received outrage until now, in part because their context was better understood when they were first printed.
“The gays are using some online blog to muster [enough] negative comments to have my calendar pulled,” wrote King on his blog “Funny Paperz.”
“All the hysteria is coming from those nice folks who haven't bothered to actually purchase and read my collection.”
Earlier this week the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called for supporters to demand that Amazon and Barnes & Noble drop the calendar.
“King’s cartoons employ outdated and highly-offensive stereotypes about LGBT people, and more specifically, gay men and transgender women,” said GLAAD in an online petition.
“Let Amazon know that their support for this calendar, by featuring it for sale in their stores, is demeaning to their customers and unacceptable.”
Regarding whether or not the efforts of gay rights groups to have businesses stop selling the calendar infringes on King’s rights to speech and expression, Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and communications at GLAAD, believed that was not the issue.
“King has a right to his opinions, however anti-gay or anti-transgender they may be, but retailers also have the right to decide that they don’t want to support hateful and dehumanizing content like this,” said Graddick in a statement.
Beth Kohm, deputy executive director for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National told CP that her organization supports businesses that drop products like the calendar.
“We support the decision of any business to not profit from any products that perpetuate tired and inaccurate humor about LGBT people or anyone else,” said Kohm.
Kohm added that she “would like to think that [King] just does not fully realize how hurtful words and imagery can be.”