• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedish hip-hop star slams Norwegian artist over 'racist' pic

The Local · 12 Jan 2012, 15:12

Published: 12 Jan 2012 15:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Jan 2012 15:12 GMT+01:00

Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité, one of Sweden’s most popular celebrities, reacted angrily to the cartoon published on Tuesday by Swedish newspaper Metro.

“Frode Øverli's comic strip...was the most insensitive and degrading thing I have ever read in your newspaper. It is a crystal clear case of ignorance and lack of insight into what it feels like to be subjected to racism. I feel deeply offended and very sad,” Diakité wrote in an email to Metro editor Per Gunne.

The comic strip features a cannibal chief, his daughter and a prospective suitor.

In a play on the phrase "to ask for someone's hand", the suitor mistakenly asks for the woman’s “thigh” in a cartoon many readers felt was based on racial stereotypes.

”After all these years of human knowledge it seems you remain in the era of steam engines, racial biology and genocide. You should be ashamed of yourself for not knowing better,” Diakité wrote.

And it wasn't just Diakité who objected to the controversial strip. According to Metro, some 60 readers contacted the paper saying they felt the image was racist.

In response, the paper elected to publish an apology.

”Is it OK to make fun of cannibals? Yes, I think so. Is it OK to joke in a way that can be seen as racist? Absolutely not,” Gunne wrote in Metro, adding that the paper has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism.

”With 1.6 million readers, there is always going to be someone who is offended, but this was too many,” Gunne told newspaper Dagbladet.

Artist Øverli is also devastated that the strip has offended readers. He said in a statement that he is crushed by the whole incident as he strongly opposes all forms of racism.

”My comics are a play on clichés and stereotypes from the old days - the culture that gave birth to cartoons - and the exaggerated details in the drawing are a parody of the stereotypes of the time,” Øverli said.

Øverli is an award-winning cartoonist, considered one of the most successful in Scandinavia. His comic strips appear in a number of Norwegian publications as well as the Swedish version of Metro.

According to the artist, cannibals are fantasy figures, akin to Santa Claus or werewolves, and he never thought they would offend anyone.

”It wasn't and never will be, my intention, But seeing as this has been perceived as racist, I naturally offer my utmost apologies,” he wrote.

When The Local reached Metro's Per Gunne, he said that the matter had been settled and was over as far as he was concerned.

He also confirmed that Diakité had accepted the apology.

“Thank you Per Gunne and Frode Øverli for your respectful letters, very big of you!,” Diakité posted on Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
US rockers to hit Oslo on first tour since Paris attacks
Eagles of Death Metal at a 2007 performance at Øyafestivalen. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX

US rockers to hit Oslo on first tour since Paris attacks
12 minutes ago

The Eagles of Death Metal will play the Norwegian capital this weekend as they return to the road following the Paris attacks.

Norway issues new Zika advice for pregnant women
File photo. Flickr: coniferconifer

Norway issues new Zika advice for pregnant women
3 hours ago

Health officials have new recommendations for minimizing the risk of contracting the Zika virus through sexual conduct.

Extreme Islamism and far-right pose threats to Norway
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen and PST head Benedicte Bjørnland presented the nation's terror assessment in Oslo. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

Extreme Islamism and far-right pose threats to Norway
22 hours ago

Although Norway's overall terror threat is slightly decreased there are still several factors that threaten the nation.

Chinese fund offers $1.2b for Norway's Opera web company
Photo: Opera

Chinese fund offers $1.2b for Norway's Opera web company
1 day ago

UPDATED: The world's fifth most used web browser may soon be in Chinese hands.

Russian spying can 'damage' Norway: PST
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Scanpix

Russian spying can 'damage' Norway: PST
1 day ago

In its annual threat assessment, PST said that Russian spies have major “damage potential” for Norwegian interests.

After 36 years, 'mystery films' shown in Norway
The American sent himself the package in 1980 but never picked it up. Photo: Kjell-Erik Ruud/Instagram

After 36 years, 'mystery films' shown in Norway
1 day ago

As proof that sometimes mysteries are better left unsolved, Tuesday’s public viewing of three film reels left unclaimed in a Norwegian hotel for 36 years was somewhat anticlimactic.

How to vote as an American expat in Norway
Even if you won't be anywhere near this ballot box in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire – or anywhere else in the US – you can still take help decide the next US president. Photo: Mike Segar/Scanpix

How to vote as an American expat in Norway
1 day ago

As The US presidential voting season is well underway with the first primary elections in New Hampshire, The Local looks at how American citizens can cast their ballots from outside the US.

'Aggressive elk' no match for Norway kids with snowballs
Photo: Paul Kleiven / NTB scanpix

'Aggressive elk' no match for Norway kids with snowballs
1 day ago

It takes more than an angry elk to scare Norwegian nursery children.

Norway 'lost' 661 asylum seekers in January alone
UDI said many of the 'lost' asylum seekers will likely "show up in some way or another". Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

Norway 'lost' 661 asylum seekers in January alone
2 days ago

The number of asylum seekers who 'disappeared' within Norway in January was higher than any single month last year.

Tourist brought 125 kilos of Norwegian coins to Oslo
The coins totaled 220,970 kroner and weighed 125 kilos. Photo: Toll

Tourist brought 125 kilos of Norwegian coins to Oslo
2 days ago

A most unusual find for Oslo customs officials.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Norway police to go back to being unarmed
Health
Norway ads use Hitler teddy bear to scare parents... about dust
National
Migrants: Norway 'sending us to death' in Russia
Norway under fire over tough new asylum plans
Health
Norway doctors push plan for 'tobacco-free generation'
National
Norway's call to remove crosses causes backlash
Politics
Norway tightens asylum policy to cut numbers
Society
The end of the expat? European cities fight for innovative 'inpats'
Education
Hiker finds 1,200-yr-old Viking sword in Norway
National
Oslo eyes ban on private cars from city centre in green push
Culture
Family shocked as The Scream appears in a freshly sawn plank
National
AS-IT-HAPPENED: Nobel Peace Prize announcement 2015
National
Norway armed forces to get organic underwear
International
Syrians cross Norway's Arctic border on bicycles
Society
Norwegians reveal the (hilariously inaccurate) origins of the Danish language
National
Norway man built secret child's room in cellar
Education
Norway starts school for Vikings
Sport
Sepp Blatter should win Nobel Peace Prize: Putin
2,222
jobs available