French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has ignited a firestorm on social media this week with an especially controversial cover about Hurricane Harvey.
Charlie Hebdo, which gained international notoriety for its irreverent cartoons of the prophet Muhammad and a subsequent attack on its office by gunmen who killed 12 people in 2015, released the cover for its upcoming issue on Facebook this Monday. In it, Nazi flags with swastikas and hands raised in apparent Nazi salutes poke out above floodwaters.
The caption reads: “God Exists! He Drowned All the Neo Nazis of Texas!”
The cover has been shared more than 6,000 times on Facebook and has hundreds of comments. On Twitter, users from both the U.S. and France have criticized the magazine for making light of a tragedy, as well stereotyping all Texans as neo-Nazis, though some defended the magazine’s right to satire and suggested that the cover was meant to cause shock and outrage.
Charlie Hebdo often pokes fun at government and religion, and Islam is a frequent target, according to the Washington Post. One recent cover depicted victims who had been mowed down on a street, a reference to the terrorist attack this month in Barcelona in which a man drove a vehicle into a crowd, killing at least 15 people. The cover line read "Islam: religion of peace . . . eternal." A 2010 cartoon showed a Muslim woman running naked, a burqa stuffed up her backside.
However, the magazine’s cartoonists have also lampooned politicians in shocking ways as well, showing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May decapitated, depicting President Donald Trump groping a woman and criticizing French politician Marine Le Pen. The magazine also caught criticism for its portrayal of French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife.
They are also not the first to make a connection between Texas’s politics and Harvey. On Tuesday, a University of Tampa visiting professor was fired after he suggested the storm, which has killed at least 31 people, was “instant karma” for the state’s support of the Republican party.
“Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn't care about them,” the professor wrote about Texans.
Information from the Washington Post was used in this report.