You just do not mess with Juan Valdez. Cartoonist Mike Peters has learned that the hard way. The January 2nd edition of the comic strip Mother Goose & Grimm by Peters has greatly upset Colombian coffee growers by referring to Valdez, the fictional mascot for the organization, in conjunction with rumored Columbian crime lords. The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation plans to sue Peters for “damage and harm, detriment to intellectual property and defamation” to the tune of $20 million. Peters, for his part, professes to love Colombian coffee, and meant no harm.
“I had no more thought to insult Colombia and Juan Valdez than I did Pringles, Betty Crocker, Col. Sanders, Dr. Pepper and Bartles & Jaymes,” he said in a statement. “The cartoon is meant to be read along with the rest of the week as a series of which the theme is based on the fact that the inventor of the Pringles can had his ashes buried in one.
“I thought this was a humorous subject and all of my Mother Goose & Grimm cartoons are meant to make people laugh. I truly intended no insult.”