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An apology to our community

The cartoon that ran in the Friday, Oct. 19 issue of the Rochester Business Journal should never have been published. We take full responsibility and apologize for our mistake. It does not reflect the views of this publication or its staff.

We do not condone racist or hateful content in any way and are very sorry for running this offensive cartoon. This is not what we stand for.

We take this matter very seriously and are putting new processes in place to ensure this never happens again. It’s critical we do things differently. Going forward, there are new procedures for how all RBJ content is approved and finalized before hitting the press or website.

We understand the community’s reaction and apologize for offending our readers. We are listening and learning from our mistake.

We have begun reaching out to various local organizations to seek their input on how we can better educate our staff to understand different viewpoints and to provide more opportunities for diverse voices in our publication. We have already had discussions with the Out Alliance. We will be working with them to give our staff new training and to provide a regular voice in our publication to members of the LGBTQ community.

We are also engaging with other organizations to help us grow from this incident and to support and promote the different communities who contribute to business in Rochester.

We believe that diversity and inclusion are vital to our community and want to ensure our readers that we are doing everything we can to make this right. I welcome continuing the conversation about this issue via email, phone or in person. I can be reached at [email protected] or (585) 232-6922.


  1. I’m glad to see you apologizing… but it’s not enough. Who is getting fired for this racist, transphobic, misogynistic and anti-native cartoon? It most certainly DOES “… reflect the views of the paper or its staff”!! I am CERTAIN there are bigots in your organization. Whoever approved the cartoon for publication needs to go, as well as the person who created the thing. I want to know how a business publication, which should be free of anything remotely resembling this ****, created a culture whereby something like this was allowed. What you’re doing is a good start, but your people need to have first-hand experiences with black-owned, trans-owned, woman-owned and other like businesses. Publicize what MORE you’re going to do to change your company’s culture.

  2. Rude, ignorant, cruel, unprofessional and socially irresponsible!
    Dump the bigots who let this through!

  3. The fact that even the cartoonist thought this was a good idea is disgusting.

  4. Good that you are owning this terrible mistake. This reflects so terribly on your whole organization. I could not believe my eyes when I saw this cartoon. I think you need to make a more public apology — like on the front page of your next issue. You are fanning the same flames of hate our president is now fanning and you should be ashamed. Tell us who is getting fired for this — it should go to the very top of your organization.

  5. I find it very difficult to believe that this was a failure of your internal processes. Any rational, informed person who saw this cartoon at first glance should have understood it was inflammatory and offensive, and refused to permit it to be published.

    The entire organization needs to take a hard look at itself. Are you a business journal or a partisan mouthpiece? Are you committed to reporting business news, or fanning the flames of division that are currently raging across this country?

    You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  6. I mean, I’m glad you’re apologizing and taking steps to make sure it happens again.

    But a lot of people in power in the publication allowed this to be published. So. Good luck with changing that part of the problem. Hire new people!

  7. Your apology goes round and round in circles and still does not address how it happened in the first place. Mistakes? Someone in your organization or quite a few people, that had eyes on this, do not have a problem with publishing racist and hate content. Publishing the cartoon DOES reflect the views of some of your staff. How sad is it that you need to “educate” them to recognize it and believe it to be wrong. This is a sad commentary on your publication – a publication that needs to stay neutral. Please don’t use “sound bites” vetted by your crisis team to brush this under the rug and hope that advertisers will come running back.

  8. Ben, I read your sniveling Stalinist show-trial mea culpa. You are a very weak man to cave in the face of those on the left who espouse tribal and identity politics above all else.

    There was nothing ‘racist’ about that cartoon. Let me educate you and a few of your readers blinded by their leftwing ideology – the racism is inherent in those who are white but who claim to be black or Native American to advance their careers/status, like Rachel Dolezal and Elizabeth Warren. But more importantly, the cartoon captures the utter intellectual and moral bankruptcy of those who espouse tribalism and identity politics, as is evident from some of your readers’ responses which consist essentially of “fire anyone who disagrees with us.”

  9. Ben, no apology should have been given.
    Political cartoons have been around since the 1700’s.
    I am tried of having to deal with “Feelings” of others.
    What happened to the old suck it up butter cup rule?

    If its seems over the top and ridiculous that is because it IS>
    to have to retrain your brain to not see what your eyes are seeing
    is truly inhuman. Common sense had lost is ways here in the old
    USA – the truth hurts. These fools want to be what they are not !!

  10. The apology is start, but it is not enough.

    This was a grave mistake, you cannot allow something like this and then simply apologize and promise to use better efforts.

    I have unsubscribed from your publications, email notifications and anything else associated with this organization. I recommend all reading these comments to do the same.

    How can the RBJ rectify this mistake? That remains an open question.

  11. As Donna said, an apology isn’t enough. Whoever submitted this should be held to a higher accountability than just an apology. Individuals made the decisions to submit this comic to you, to take and consider the submission and to allow it to go forward.
    You need to take a look at these people’s values. They need to understand this is not appropriate behavior for anyone, especially adults. We have enough of this going on right now and people need to take a hard stand against this type of inappropriate material.

  12. You left out the two most important questions of this entire sorry business: How? And Why?

    Until you have the guts to address both of these factors, no amount of weak apology will suffice.

    As has been stated by greater minds than mine: to goad the entitled is satire. To goad the disenfranchised is bullying.

    Try to apply that simple test to any future incipient cartoon disasters.

  13. The problem here is that people forget a very simple concept. People who don’t like Trump laugh when a cartoon comes out of him looking stupid but then admonish another cartoonist for making Clinton look stupid. It doesn’t work that way.
    If you laugh at the cartoon you agree with and fight to take down the cartoon you dont agree with, you dont understand the concept of the first amendment and the right to the freedom of speech.
    I am a liberal and I understand this. If you get free speech so does the guy you dont agree with.

  14. J,
    Clinton, Trump, political figures are all fair game. People aren’t offended because Liberals are being picked on. Picking on a class of people for being who they are isn’t.

    There’s no difference between picking on people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation. It is not OK and that’s what this cartoon did.

    P.S. Have the guts to use more than a single initial, will ya?


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