The University of Western Australia’s student magazine, Pelicanhas canned a sponsorship deal with The West Australian newspaper to protest against its cartoonist Dean Alston. Pelican writer Kate Pendergast wrote on the publication’s website this week that Alston’s cartoons were “crude mysoginst ink”:

“Dean Alston is a prolific, provocative and roundly-acclaimed cartoonist. Having published over 14,000 drawings to date and received honour with a number of awards (including a Walkley in 1991), he has since the late eighties been under the employ of WA’s state newspaper the West Australian as editorial cartoonist. Though heading into his autumn years at 66, Alston has told the ABC he has no plans of retirement and will most likely ‘die at his desk’. His wit has been dubbed ‘wicked’, and his line-work — it’s pretty great.”

She went on to slam his views on women. The magazine hasn’t revealed what the deal is worth, but it said it has cut the deal over two cartoons deriding women in sport, one called “Wimmin” and the other “AWFL” about the women’s league in the AFL.

“So. Pelican noticed this and had a think. The West is currently in a sponsorship with us; or rather (because we don’t control our own advertising, and our budget is hardly our own), the UWA Guild. It has been since our first edition of this year, when the marketing arm of the Guild struck up an advertising contract. They have both a banner advert on our website, and an ad space in our magazine negotiated to run in five print issues. A free 12-month digital edition subscription is also offered to students (valued at around $300). There is one remaining print advertisement booked, set to feature in Edition 5, and following this the possibility to continue and expand our relationship into the future. The sponsorship is of significant benefit and value to Pelican financially — out of it, we’ve managed to pad our pockets with a tidy sum, that by commercial agreement, we’re not allowed to specify.”

The editors got a response from The West Australian‘s editor Bob Cronin, and unsurpisingly the paper chose to keep the cartoonist over the small sponsorship deal.

Peter Fray

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