Here’s a bit of advice: if you’re planning to invite famous cartoonist Robert Crumb to attend a festival in your town, it’s likely best to make sure all the local news outlets will agree not to call him names or he’ll probably cancel on you. Such as happened to Graphic, a weekend-long festival dedicated to “graphic storytelling, animation and music” in Sydney, Australia. After an article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph entitled “Smutty Show a Comic Outrage,” which begins immediately by calling Crumb “a self-confessed sex pervert” and frequently quotes from “sexual assault crisis groups” who were against his appearance, the artist decided to cancel:
“It was strong stuff and it made me look very, very bad,” Crumb said. “All it takes is a few people who overreact to something like that to show up and cause unpleasantness. I have a lot of anxiety about having to confront some angry sexual assault crisis group.”
…Crumb wrote to Graphic co-curator Jordan Verzar on Monday to confirm his withdrawal. “I told him that I’m not coming and to cancel the whole thing,” the artist said. A festival spokesperson said Verzar had last night asked Crumb to reconsider his decision.
So is Crumb’s skin too thin or Australia’s? Given that “Crumb’s work cannot be shown in Australia unless he submits his illustrations for classification” we’re inclined to believe the latter.