On Monday morning I was informed I had a winning cartoon in a contest conducted by an organization in Iran. The cartoon posted here is the winning cartoon.
The contest was on “Trumpism,” and was highly critical of Donald Trump. I was down for that. I criticize our president without any prospects of winning an award. There were two categories, cartoons and caricatures, with ten winners in each. I was flattered, honored, and extremely humbled that I was among the ten winners out of over 1,600 entries from all over the world. I even made a post about it this morning on social media writing, “Some lazy American cartoonist is among the winners of an international cartoon contest. Probably a total hack.” I like self-deprecating humor.
I was mentioned in stories by ABC News, The Hill, Newsweek, Yahoo, the Associated Press, and from the United Kingdom, the BBC, The Independent, and The Daily Mail. I was even mentioned in Dunya from Pakistan. That was pretty cool though except for the BBC and Dunya, each of these articles has me listed as “Robert Jones Clayton.” I don’t know who that guy is.
It was also from these articles that I learned the organization, Iran’s The Organization for Sacred Defense Artistic and Cinema Affairs, which ran this contest is the same one that held a contest last year on the Holocaust, which organizers say was meant to “highlight Western double standards on free speech and not to cast doubt on the Nazi genocide.”
This is where I have a problem.
I was unaware this was the same group as the Holocaust event organizers. I wasn’t even aware it was held in Iran until Monday when I learned I won. I entered several months ago when a request was submitted to me. I didn’t do any research and assumed it was held in Europe. I don’t know why I assumed that.
I have an issue with a contest sponsored by the government of Iran that’s critical of free speech in the United States when they don’t allow freedom of speech, or freedom for the press in their nation. I have an issue with a contest that was a wolf whistle for antisemitism. Though the Trumpism contest wasn’t about any of that, it’s not a party I would accept an invitation to. If the Ku Klux Klan held a cartoon contest on economics, I wouldn’t want to enter, and I don’t want to be involved with a group that engages in antisemitism, no matter how their denial may be worded.
It’s for that reason I have to decline the award, honor, citation, or whatever it is. Thank you very much, but no thanks. I do not want to be with any group that engages in hatred, no matter how much fun it is to mock Donald Trump. But it’s not about Donald Trump for me.
So officially, I, CLAYTON ROBERT JONES, decline being awarded for my cartoons by the Iranian Trumpism contest.