OC Weekly Cover Story Belittles Kelly Thomas’ Death

Sometimes a parody of “Where’s Waldo” works and sometimes it doesn’t.  This weekend’s OC Weekly has a cover story about African-Americans in Orange County (or the lack of them) and the piece itself is a great story, well researched and well crafted.  Read it.  The cover art might shock you if you look closely.

The cover art features caricatures of all manner of residents of Orange County from surfers to desperate & augmented housewives to Taco vendors and Angels fans to Disneyland characters.  But to the right of the lead “Waldo” character on the issue’s cover, you’ll see three Fullerton police officers beating a red haired and bearded man with nightsticks as the “Kelly Thomas” avatar bleeds profusely from the head.  When we told a few Fullerton friends about the image, there were audible gasps of disbelief that the publication would use Thomas’ death as they did.

Not exactly an image that works with the story nor is in the best of taste, especially when the cover story has a sidebar on “anti-black stupidity.” At the very least, we think OC Weekly owes an apology to Ron Thomas and Kelly’s Army for using the brutal death of Thomas in a “humorous” fashion in a story that has nothing to do with Kelly Thomas’s death.

We’ve outreached to Ron Thomas for comment.  And we emailed the piece’s author and editor-in-chief Gustavo Arellano for a comment on the image. Arellano writes:

“That’s funny, because we haven’t received a single complaint—just nothing but praise. Send those complainers my way!”

We’ll update this story as we receive updates.

Parody is protected speech even if the subject of the parody doesn’t get it.  In this case, its poor taste at best and offensive at worst.  If you don’t like the image, feel free to email Arellano directly or leave a comment below.


  7 comments for “OC Weekly Cover Story Belittles Kelly Thomas’ Death

  1. Henry Lipton
    June 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    This is a joke right? I mean you aren’t really trying to lampoon the OC Weekly like this are you? Is this an extension on the parody that you are bemoaning? Is this a parody or is this a real lament on the content of the picture?

  2. June 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Its inappropriate to lampoon Kelly Thomas’ death

  3. Henry Lipton
    June 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Really? You find that offensive? And at the same time you make no mention of the Asian guy right behind that characterization of Kelly Thomas being murdered by dirty cops (murderers with badges), in the stereotypical Asian hat thing I dont know what its called.
    Nor do you make any hay about the Mexican gardener wit the leaf blower on his back, or about the cholo on the modified bicycle typical of a barrio transportation mode.

    Are you sure youre not exploiting the death of Kelly Thomas by making such a transparent omission of these stereotypes and to focus on the Kelly Thomas Murder?

    And these people that are audibly moaning? Are you kidding me? Are you referring to that lady that got re-elected who would praise the old city council men who sat idle while this scandal broke all in the blind alliegiance to their fellow boys in blue murderers?
    And you had the audacity to call on Kelly Thomas’ father about your fake outrage about his sons brutal murder?
    Are you sure youre not joking? Because if youre serious; you have some serious issues that need to be worked out and you should thin about taking a leave of absence from this blog to get your morals in check.

    • June 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

      The cover art is posted for all to see. Yes, I sent Ron Thomas a note asking for comment and thus far have none.

      Because I find the image in bad taste, I need a morals check? Really? There’s nothing wrong with my morals but thanks for asking

  4. junior
    June 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Where the black people at?

    Answer: Moreno Valley

    The 2010 United States Census reported that the racial makeup of Moreno Valley is 18.0% African American. That is over the limit for MV – have the OC BOS direct some MV blacks to move here.

  5. Repulsed
    June 4, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Classic response from Gustavo, I would expect nothing less.
    The quintessential douche

  6. Gustavo Arellano
    June 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm


Comments are closed.