Sensitive Spanish royals, avert your eyes

In solidarity with two cartoonists who were convicted of ‘vilifying’ the Crown Prince of Spain, and fined 3,000 Euros each, spiked republishes their cartoon.


Topics Free Speech

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Last week, two Spanish cartoonists were dragged in front of a court and fined 3,000 Euros each (£2,100) for depicting Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia having sex.

It is a crime in Spain to slander or defame the royal family. Anyone who does so faces a prison sentence of up to two years or a stiff fine. The judge in the cartoon case ruled that Guillermo Torres and Manel Fontdevila – whose illustration of the fornicating prince appeared on the front cover of the satirical magazine El Jueves – had ‘vilified the Crown in the most gratuitous and unnecessary way’.

This represents a disgraceful assault on freedom of speech. Nobody, not even the Crown Prince of Spain or his wife, has a right not to be offended. When some silly Danish cartoons showing the prophet Mohammad in various weird poses were published in 2006, there was an international uproar: Muslim groups kicked up a fuss, while some European newspapers republished the cartoons in solidarity with the Danish cartoonists who drew them. Yet there has been far less controversy over a European royal family’s use of archaic laws to punish and censor satire.

Today, spiked is republishing the Spanish cartoon – and if any Spanish or other European royals see it and feel offended, tough. The cartoon satirises both the Spanish government and royal family. It is a swipe at the government’s attempt to boost Spain’s low birth rate by offering 2,500 Euros to families for each new child born or adopted; the prince is saying to his wife: ‘Do you realise that if you get pregnant, this will be the closest to real work I’ve ever done?’

Previously on spiked

Brendan O’Neill went to a demo in favour of free speech, with the edges taken off. Munira Mirza said the press should be free to ridicule Islam while Mick Hume said the debate surrounding the publication of Danish cartoons portraying the prophet Muhammad was a caricatured argument. Josie Appleton said we should stop hiding behind cries of ‘offence!’ and stand up for our beliefs. Or read more at spiked issue Free speech.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Free Speech


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