You cant … look away: Halifax cartoonist on his image of Lady Justice with a hand over her mouth

\You can\t ... look away\: Halifax cartoonist on his image of Lady Justice with a hand over her mouth
Halifax artists cartoon in response to Kavanaugh hearing grips internet
Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding sexual assault allegations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 27.

A Halifax artist’s political cartoon is making waves on the internet, as the disturbing image illustrates an assault on Lady Justice in the wake of the Senate hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Michael de Adder, a freelance cartoonist also working out of Halifax, drew a similar cartoon and posted it on his Twitter account on Friday: in his, Lady Justice is lying on a bed with her scales and sword beside her as Kavanaugh and an elephant — a symbol for the Republican party — walk away, laughing.

Bruce MacKinnon, a cartoonist for the Chronicle Herald, depicts a blindfolded Lady Justice being held down by Republican hands as her scales of justice lie beside her. One of the hands is covering her mouth, which seems to be a reference to the way in which Christine Blasey Ford described an alleged sexual assault by the Supreme Court nominee when they were teenagers.

"There was a lot of nasty stuff out there too, no question. It does underscore the deep divide and the real polarization of opinion here and in the U.S., but thats what an editorial cartoon is for: to provoke debate, and hopefully, in the larger picture, some things get worked out."

In Ford’s testimony on Thursday, she told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh covered her mouth while she was pinned down on a bed during the alleged assault at a high school party.

The graphic image by Halifax-based Bruce MacKinnon shows Justice blindfolded and pinned down, her scales cast aside as a mans hand covers her mouth — an explicit reference to how California professor Christine Blasey Ford described an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh dating back to 1982.

The powerful political cartoon shows Lady Justice blindfolded and pinned down as her scales lie beside her, one hand covering her mouth — an explicit reference to how California professor Christine Blasey Ford described an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh when they were both in high school in 1982.

On Friday, a full Senate vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination was delayed after Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona called for further investigation into Ford’s claims. The FBI now has one week to investigate the matter.

It caught the attention of actress and .MeToo activist Alyssa Milano, who tweeted it out Sunday with the caption: "Youve made a misogynistic, hurtful, joke of our Supreme Court, ΓåòrealDonaldTrump. … Women wont forget. And we vote."

MacKinnon said he was inspired to draw the cartoon because he believes the hearing was a “watershed moment” in how allegations of sexual abuse are treated in North America.

MacKinnon said he was compelled to draw the cartoon, which was published in the weekend edition of The Chronicle Herald, to illustrate what he believes to be a crucial example of how allegations of sexual abuse are treated in North America.

The cartoonist told the Washington Post that it seemed Republican members of the committee wanted to smother justice before it had a chance to be heard.

After the cartoon was posted on Twitter, many users commented that the image was very difficult to look at. One Twitter user called it “disturbing and necessary.”

The graphic image by Halifax-based Bruce MacKinnon shows Justice blindfolded and pinned down, her scales cast aside as a mans hand covers her mouth — an explicit reference to how California professor Christine Blasey Ford described an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh dating back to 1982.

The graphic image by Halifax-based Bruce MacKinnon shows Lady Justice blindfolded and pinned down as her scales lie beside her, a mans hand covering her mouth (Credit: Bruce MacKinnon, The Chronicle Herald)

In the picture, the cuffs on the shirt the man is wearing are decorated with the Republican elephant.

Like many viewers over the past week, MacKinnon, a cartoonist for The Chronicle Herald, was gripped by Fords televised testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee, which culminated in a request for an FBI investigation and the delay of a Senate vote on Kavanaughs confirmation.

Its not the first time the award-winning cartoonist has taken aim at situations to the south, but MacKinnon said the culture of sexual assault is pervasive on both sides of the border.

“I watched the testimony as it happened. It was riveting,” MacKinnon said Sunday. “It was one of those things where you couldnt even exhale until she was finished.”

"I watched the testimony as it happened. It was riveting," MacKinnon said Sunday. "It was one of those things where you couldnt even exhale until she was finished."

Ford alleged Kavanaugh groped her and tried to remove her clothing after he pinned her to a bed at a house party when she was 15 and he was 17 — claims he vehemently denies.

MacKinnon said he was compelled to draw the cartoon, which was published in the weekend edition of The Chronicle Herald, to illustrate what he believes to be a crucial example of how allegations of sexual abuse are treated in North America.

HALIFAX — A political cartoon depicting the assault of Lady Justice has gone viral in the wake of recent allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“In a year that was so dominated by the #MeToo movement and the changes that I think we all hope will come from that, this seems to be an almost watershed moment and a very pivotal one for America,” he said. 

Some users have described feeling a "gut punch" upon seeing it, and one woman tweeted the provocative cartoon made her feel like she couldnt breathe.

The image has gone viral since Saturday, amassing tens of thousands of likes and thousands of shares on social media websites like Reddit, Twitter and Facebook.

It caught the attention of actress and #MeToo activist Alyssa Milano, who tweeted it out Sunday with the caption: “Youve made a misogynistic, hurtful, joke of our Supreme Court, @realDonaldTrump. … Women wont forget. And we vote.”

Some users have described feeling a “gut punch” upon seeing it, and one woman tweeted the provocative cartoon made her feel like she couldnt breathe.

In March of 2015, Fenwisk MacIntosh, a former Nova Scotian business man was convicted by a judge in Napal and given a seven year sentence behind bars.

“I think its important that people face up to it. It is disturbing. But its exactly the scenario (Ford) described,” he said. 

"I think its important that people face up to it. It is disturbing. But its exactly the scenario (Ford) described," he said.

“So if we dont talk about it, if we turn away from it and pretend it isnt there, were not going to solve the problem.”

"So if we dont talk about it, if we turn away from it and pretend it isnt there, were not going to solve the problem."

Its not the first time the award-winning cartoonist has taken aim at situations to the south, but MacKinnon said the culture of sexual assault is pervasive on both sides of the border.

On Sunday morning, he tweeted his and MacKinnons drawings together and said political cartoons are not always meant to be funny.

The flurry of responses to his work — both positive and negative — came as a surprise to MacKinnon, but he said he was glad his cartoon is contributing to a conversation that he believes is important to have.

In the picture, the cuffs on the shirt the man is wearing are decorated with the Republican elephant.

“I was surprised by the response and really encouraged by the fact that there was so much discourse that came from it, so much open debate,” he said.

“There was a lot of nasty stuff out there too, no question. It does underscore the deep divide and the real polarization of opinion here and in the U.S., but thats what an editorial cartoon is for: to provoke debate, and hopefully, in the larger picture, some things get worked out.”

Michael de Adder, a freelance cartoonist also working out of Halifax, drew a similar cartoon and posted it on his Twitter account on Friday: in his, Lady Justice is lying on a bed with her scales and sword beside her as Kavanaugh and an elephant — a symbol for the Republican party — walk away, laughing.

On Sunday morning, he tweeted his and MacKinnons drawings together and said political cartoons are not always meant to be funny.

“A political cartoonist does not depict sexual assault casually. The message to the people in power has to outweigh the consequences of drawing something so horrible,” he wrote.