Read our new manifesto
22 - 26 March

Festival for a rapidly changing world

Topics include: Direct to consumer / E-commerce / Data & privacy / Martech

Der Spiegel's President Trump beheading cover divides opinion

Der Spiegel's President Trump beheading cover courts backlash

Weekly German news magazine Der Spiegel is facing criticism over its latest front cover, which features Donald Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty.

The powerful cartoon shows the president wielding a knife and holding up Lady Liberty's severed head, with the illustrator Edel Rodriguez saying the image represents "the beheading of democracy."

Underneath the drawing, a caption reads: 'America First' in reference to one of Trump's go-to election campaign mantras.

The strong condemnation of the politician has divided opinion in Europe and the US. Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the German vice-president of the European Parliament described it as "tasteless", while the Washington post has dubbed it "stunning."

German Daily newspaper Die Welt said the cover "devalues journalism" arguing that the splash was intended to shock and gain publicity for Spiegel.

Cartoonist Rodriguez asserted he was making a comparison between Trump and Isis militants who behead their victims, because "both sides are extremists."

Speaking to the Post the artist, who came to the United States from Cuba as a political refugee in 1980, said he has used art as a medium to channel his anger over Trump's widely criticised immigration policies.

Der Spiegel's cover follows on from a similar concept explored by the New Yorker in its most recent issue in which the New York monument has had her flame extinguished.

Several US paper and media companies have taken a strong stance against Trump including USA Today and BuzzFeed. The latter told its reporters they were allowed to describe him as a "mendacious racist" and "liar" as matter of fact in their coverage early on in the election campaign. Editor Ben Smith said it was because the Republican was "operating far outside the political campaigns to which [Buzzfeed's] guidelines usually apply."

Last week the former reality TV star signed an executive order temporarily banning entry into the United States for travellers from seven predominately Muslim countries and refugees from around the globe. It has since been blocked a federal judge, but both media and tech companies were quick to respond to the move, with giants like Twitter, Facebook, Uber, Microsoft and Airbnb offering assistance to those affected in various ways.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis