Gary Varvel

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Gary Varvel is a political cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star.[1] Gary Varvel has been the editorial cartoonist for The Star since 1994.[2] Previously he was the chief artist for The Indianapolis News for 16 years.[2] His works are syndicated with Creators Syndicate. His cartoons are written from a conservative point of view.[1] Varvel is an avid sports fan, and often includes the Indianapolis sports scene in his cartoons.

Besides being a cartoonist, he is a part-time art teacher and an adult Sunday school teacher. Varvel resides in Brownsburg, Indiana with his wife and three children.


In the week before Thanksgiving in 2014, the Indianapolis Star published a single panel cartoon by Varvel that was widely criticized as being racist.[3][4][5] In the cartoon, a Caucasian family is seen inside their dining room at a dinner table with an unhappy father holding a baked turkey saying "Thanks to the President's immigration order, we'll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving," while darker skinned people can be seen climbing through their window.[4] The Star later removed the mustache of one of the intruders and then a day later the executive editor Jeff Taylor deleted the cartoon entirely and issued an apology.[5][4][6][7] In the apology, Taylor wrote, "Gary did not intend to be racially insensitive in his attempt to express his strong views about President Barack Obama's decision to temporarily prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants living and working illegally in the United States."[4][7]

Writing for New York Magazine, Caroline Bankoff wrote, "Thanksgiving, which celebrates the generosity this country's original inhabitants showed to the undocumented immigrants who landed on their shores in 1620."[4]