Death threat: Seattle cartoonist still in hiding
SEATTLE — The Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre in France hits home in the Pacific Northwest, where a Seattle cartoonist has been in hiding for the past several years.
Molly Norris jokingly launched a “Draw Muhammad Day” campaign on Facebook in 2010. It was actually Norris’ response to backlash against the TV show South Park for its depiction of Muhammad. Within one day of the Facebook postings, the death threats began.
“Molly Norris is the first American journalist forced into hiding by radical Islam inside America,” said Larry Kelley, a former colleague of Norris, who is trying to raise money for her through his blog, “Free Molly Norris.”
When al-Qaeda leaders issued a fatwa against Norris, calling for her death, the FBI advised her to go ghost. She changed her name, identity, and left town.
Kelley believes law enforcement in this country didn’t do enough to protect her.
“The example of Molly Norris shows you we are not even playing defense when it comes to threatening the journalistic community.”
David Horsey, a legendary Northwest editorial cartoonist, said plenty of people have disagreed with his cartoons over the years, but he never feared for his life. Still, he says in the last few years any depiction of Muhammad can clearly make a cartoonist a target.
"It just shows how out of step of the modern world these terrorists are and these people who have kind of a medieval mindset where any one who expresses an idea they may not like can be killed," said Horsey.
"It’s a terrible situation and cartoonists are pretty much defenseless because you don’t know when this stuff is coming, and you don’t know if it’s serious."