Virginia cartoonist declines award from Iran’s Trump cartoon contest

AT FIRST, Clay Jones was flattered. Then he learned more, and was repulsed.

Now, Jones, a self-syndicated political cartoonist based in Fredericksburg, Va., is declining the honor.

Jones discovered this week that a cartoon of his lampooning the president had been awarded a citation in the Trumpism Cartoon and Caricature Contest, as announced Monday by Iran’s House of Cartoon in Tehran. His cartoon spoofed Time magazine’s 2016 selection of Trump as “person of the year” by drawing a comparison to Hitler, whom Time named its “man of the year” in 1938.

Jones’s issue with the competition is that he now believes it is anti-American and anti-free speech.

“[House of Cartoon] may have good intentions, but I don’t want to be associated with them,” Jones tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “It can be perceived as not just an anti-Trump contest, but anti-American. I’m fine with criticizing America, or even our democratic allies criticizing America. But I don’t want to join our enemies in doing so.”

When he entered the contest several months ago via email, Jones says, he was unaware exactly who was organizing it, or that the group had held a Holocaust cartoon contest. He says he had received an invitation to enter via Facebook.

“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,” Jones writes on his blog. “I have an issue with a contest that was a wolf whistle for anti-Semitism.

“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 anti-Semitism, no matter how their denial may be worded.”

Contest organizer Masuod Shojai Tabatabaei told…

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