Ben Garrison is a political cartoonist and a self-described libertarian who prides himself on being “politically incorrect.” He is a staunch supporter of President Trump even though, he says, he doesn’t agree with all the president’s policies; Garrison writes that he first decided to support Trump because “he was not a globalist and he wanted to make America great again. The Deep State despised him. That was enough.”
Garrison’s cartoons are often provocative, even polarizing. Most recently, a caricature he drew of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has gone viral over social media, sparking widely different reactions among its viewers, including accusations of racism and sexism.
Here’s what’s you need to know about Ben Garrison:
1. His Other Recent Cartoons Include Elizabeth Warren Dressed as a Native American & Ocasio Cortez Riding a Tricycle
Garrison’s most recent cartoon, a depiction of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, has gone viral since the cartoonist first published it on February 13. That cartoon shows a caricature of Ocasio Cortez wearing a necklace of the Puerto Rican flag and a midriff-baring shirt that reads “Socialism is Sexy.” Readers have accused Garrison of being sexist and racist because of his depiction of Ocasio-Cortez; others have accused him of “thirsting” for the freshman Congresswoman.
Garrison’s other recent cartoons include a caricature of Elizabeth Warren wearing a headdress, fringed buckskins, and moccasins; she’s sending out smoke signals which say, among other things, “Trump — him heap big racist!” Another cartoon shows an all-green picture of Ocasio Cortez, her hair in pigtails, riding a tricycle. She says, among other things, “choo choos! no planes” and “I hate ICE.”
2. His ‘Politically Incorrect’ Cartoons Include a Depiction of John McCain as a Port-o-Potty
When you go to Garrison’s website, you’ll be offered the chance to view what the site calls “politically incorrect cartoons too shocking to publish on our site.” The site prompts you to enter your name and email address for the chance to see those ‘politically incorrect’ cartoons.
The ‘politically incorrect’ cartoons that aren’t published directly on grrgraphics.com include a depiction of “Potty John,” or Senator John McCain, drawn as a port-o-potty set in front of McCain’s grave marker. An explanation, which is included in the email, reads, “McCain is a traitor and having to watch the media and our Political elites calling him a “hero” and praising him during the state funeral was maddening. To counter this, I drew the “Johnny Potty” cartoon.”
Other ‘politically incorrect’ cartoons include a caricature of a frowning, muscle-bound Michelle Obama side by side with a slim, smiling Melania Trump (the caption reads “Make the First Lady Great Again”) and a depiction of a “European vacation” where European capitals have been dominated by Muslim terrorists.
3. His Work Has Been Banned from Facebook
Back in 2017, Garrison was handed a temporary ban from Facebook after he put up a cartoon depicting Senator John McCain as a tumor who should be removed from the nation. You can see that cartoon here.
Garrison has also said that he had been “shadow banned” from Twitter and that some of his followers weren’t able to see his cartoons.
4. Garrison Is Based in Montana & Has Been Drawing Political Cartoons for a Decade
Garrison, 62, lives in Lakeside, Montana, a tiny town on the shore of Flathead Lake with a population of about 2,700. He told Wired that he first started putting his cartoons online in 2009, when he was inspired by his outrage over the way the Obama administration handled the financial crisis. “I was furious when the banks were bailed out, so I decided to draw a few protest cartoons,” Garrison told Wired. But the cartoonist said that “Nazis” started re-purposing his cartoons and altering them so that they were filled with anti-Semitic imagery and rhetoric. You can see some of the doctored cartoons here.
Garrison says that he is neither a racist nor an anti-Semite; he says that instead, he’s the victim of a trolling campaign, most of which he blames on a young man named Joshua Goldberg. Garrison says the trolling campaign cost him years worth of income; he even wrote a book defending his reputation and describing his experience of being trolled. In the end, he told Wired, he decided that the best way to defend his reputation was to put out as many of his own cartoons as possible, in the hopes that they would soon outnumber the fake ones.
5. His Wife, Tina, Acts as His Business Manager
Garrison’s wife, Tina, handles what Garrison’s website calls “the business end of the Garrison cartoon empire” — marketing, sales, and social media. Garrison told Wired that he asked Tina to take over his social media at a time when he was struggling with how he should best handle the “trolls” who he says were destroying his income. Garrison said that, in fighting against the trolls, he had started to forget his own free speech values and had turned into what he calls an “SJW” or “social justice warrior.”
He said, “I became an SJW myself. A libertarian against free speech! So I talked to my wife and we decided the best thing to do was to share the real cartoons enough to outspread the fake ones.” That’s when Tina took over as his social media manager.