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Colombian coffee growers sue Mother Goose & Grimm cartoonist

Mother Goose & Grimm: the Juan Valdez incident

Mother Goose & Grimm: the Juan Valdez incident

A Colombian coffee-growers group is suing cartoonist Mike Peters for a reported $20 million over a gag in a Mother Goose & Grimm strip involving Colombian coffee and crime syndicates.

According to Colombia Reports, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia doesn’t find any humor in a joke that uses the group’s old slogan, “There’s a little bit of Juan Valdez in every can,” to suggest (I guess?) that the nation’s organized-crime groups use the cans to dispose of human remains.

(Juan Valdez is, of course, the fiction character the federation has used since 1959 to market “100-percent Colombian coffee.”)

I know a joke loses its humor if you explain it, but it wasn’t all that funny to begin with. However, is it really cause for a lawsuit?

At a press conference Tuesday in Bogota, the association’s president criticized the strip for linking the “atrocities of the violent groups” to the “hard, honest” work of the nation’s coffee growers.

Gabriel Silva says the group seeks “not just an economic compensation for something that damages the intellectual heritage. We also want moral compensation. A public manifestation.”

“Moral compensation” apparently amounts to $20 million.

BBC World News spoke to a handful of noted Colombian cartoonists, who scoff at the lawsuit.

According to Colombia Reports, Peters — a Pulitzer Prize winner — sent an apology to the El Tiempo newspaper, but didn’t comment on the legal action.

It’s unclear in what jurisdiction the lawsuit will be filed.

Update: The Associated Press now has a few more details, including an excerpt from Peters’ statement:

“I had no more thought to insult Colombia and Juan Valdez than I did Pringles, Betty Crocker, Col. Sanders, Dr. Pepper and Bartles & Jaymes. The cartoon is meant to be read along with the rest of the week as a series of which the theme is based on the fact that the inventor of the Pringles can had his ashes buried in one.

“I thought this was a humorous subject and all of my Mother Goose & Grimm cartoons are meant to make people laugh. I truly intended no insult.”



But was he good to the last drop? Please tell me Conchita was not roasted along with him. This whole thing is just silly. They are making asses of themselves. I knew Soylent Green was true. Did Charlton Heston scream out at the end of the movie, Soylent Green is Juan Valdez! If I were Mike Peters I would ride with it.

Not funny at all!!! I even think 20 million is a low number for such damage. I’m Colombian and the strip makes me sick, the mental picture of human remains in my cup of coffee is just dreadful. Peters crossed the line big time and the damage made to Colombian coffee image is unforgiveable.

Are you for real? Nobody has a sense of humor anymore. What crazy nut would think that Juan Valdez was cut up into little pieces. Didn’t Columbia also sue Costa Rica for the claim of the name Juan Valdez. What is wrong with the world? Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez has called US President George W. Bush a devil with his sulfur comments and an Iraqi throwing shows at him. Did he go out and sue people? Seriously a chill pill should be in order. We should sue the lot of you with the drugs coming up here to North America. How many youth have died in the name of Columbia. That is really the sad part about this whole thing. It’s just a bunch of lines to convey a chuckle.

I work in the canning industry and the moral insult here to canners by the very suggestion that tin cans might be used to store human remains is unforgivable. UNFORGIVABLE!

Also I have been sick and I object to ‘Mike Lozada’ coopting the idea of illness to express his own displeasure at the insult to Colombia, which is not nearly as great as they insult to the cannery industry. I believe Sr. Lozada owes an apology to all sick people everywhere, plus 20 million dollars.

Oh good grief – as “Achmed” put it – “Being Politically Correct is hard!”
If you can’t deal with the humor, PUT DOWN THE PAPER.
Or I’ll have to sue you for interfering with my right to happiness, which comes from reading strips that actually require the use of more than one brain cell.

[…] sue Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters over a Mother Goose and Grimm strip that jokingly linked Colombian coffee to the country’s crime syndicates. The association apparently has accepted Peters’ apology, and has invited the cartoonist to […]

wheres george bush getting coffee from a robot in the nobel office??????????????????????

TELL ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sorry i ment oval even though it isnt oval shapped


December 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Colombia is obviously very protective about their reputation but now since their popularity has gone down they are trying every way to be more popular again even by suing Mike. SORRY COLOMBIA ( BAHH!! )

I love Colombian coffee. I drink it every day. I found the cartoon mildly amusing. I’m frankly disgusted that anyone would take offence at an obvious joke in a cartoon. People can’t even make a joke anymore without someone taking offence at it. That is so petty.

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