Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau today defended a comic strip based on the now-largely-debunked Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity.
“We’d hoped it would be obvious that the strip was written before Rolling Stone admitted problems in its reporting,” he emailed. “It’s not the first time I've been overtaken by events, and it won’t be the last—the occupational hazard of a long lead time.”
The strip, which you can read here, features characters outraged over the Rolling Stone story and the “frat boy monster” it depicts. A mother reading the story tells her daughter she won’t be going to UVA. Given that Rolling Stone apologized for widely publicized problems in the story on Dec. 5, the strip’s publication drew biting criticism from the right.
“I’d add to his embarrassment by sending him a piece of snail mail, but who knows how long it will take to get there,” wrote Sonny Bunch at the Washington Free Beacon. “By the time he receives it, he’ll probably have penned a horribly out of date comic strip about the evils of Duke lacrosse or the travails of a poor young woman named Tawana Brawley.”
John Glynn, the president of Universal Uclick, which syndicates Trudeau’s strip, emailed that Trudeau submitted the strip before any of the story’s problems were publicized.
Trudeau still defends the strip’s value.
“Jackie’s story was not the focus, only the setup for commentary on institutional conflict of interest in adjudicating sexual assault, an issue that did not disappear with the credibility of the article,” he emailed. “Not even UVA has claimed otherwise.”