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Mecham ‘Disappointed’ Over Doonesbury Strips, But Unlikely To Sue

September 10, 1987 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Gov. Evan Mecham said Wednesday he considers cartoonist Garry Trudeau’s depiction of him in ″Doonesbury″ comic strips appearing this week in newspapers nationwide as ″brutish and grotesque.″

But the governor said he doubts he will sue for libel.

Mecham, asked by reporters whether he was bothered by the strips, said, ″It always disappoints me for anybody to tell things about me that aren’t true. That disappoints me about anybody.″

Monday’s strip showed Mecham patting a black child on the head and saying, ″My 3/8 What a cute little pickaninny.″ Tuesday’s pictured him as blaming an effort to recall him on ″queers and pickaninnies.″

Wednesday’s strip had Mecham boasting that a motorcycle gang wants to hold its convention in Arizona now that he has rescinded the state’s Martin Luther King holiday.

Mecham was blasted earlier this year for refusing to criticize a reference to black children as ″pickaninnies″ in a book by his political mentor. He also drew fire when he rescinded a paid King holiday for state employees.

Opponents have begun a petition drive to force a recall election in the spring.

The governor said he found no humor in the ″Doonesbury″ strips, calling them ″brutish and grotesque.″

Added Mecham: ″I’ll leave the issue in the comics where it belongs.″

Upon hearing that Mecham probably won’t sue, Bob Duffy, vice president for sales at the Universal Press Syndicate, which syndicates ″Doonesbury,″ said, ″My understanding is that it would be almost impossible to libel the Arizona governor.″

″If people like John Mitchell and Frank Sinatra can’t sue,″ he said referring to two past Trudeau targets, ″then there is no way Mecham can sue.″