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Oxford not laughing at satirical student paper

A controversial spoof edition of Oxford University's campus newspaper has led to the resignation of two top editors at the paper.

According to British newspapers, Oxford's student paper, Cherwell, typically circulates a satirical issue among its editors at the end of every term. But this year, the issue, called Lecher, was leaked to the Oxford community, and many are saying it went too far.

According to a Feb. 27 article in the article in the Guardian, the spoof issue mocked the Holocaust, employed racist epithets, made references to killing and sexually abusing babies and featured a digitally-manipulated image of a Cherwell editor wearing a Ku Klux Klan uniform and giving a Nazi salute.

Oxford Student Publications Limited, which publishes Cherwell but did not publish Lecher, condemned the satirical paper in a statement.

"The contents of the document Lecher are utterly deplorable, and OSPL condemns it in the strongest possible terms," the statement read.

Cherwell's top editors, Sian Cox-Brooker and Michael Bennett, both resigned in the wake of the controversy. Though they were not Cherwell's editors in November and do not claim responsibility for Lecher, The Times (of London) reported on Feb. 27 that "it is understood that those who are about to take over the paper's reins are often involved in the traditional spoof."

In a joint statement announcing their resignations, Brooker and Bennett apologized for the content of the spoof issue.

"The tone and content of Lecher was clearly intended to be satirical, and was received as such by its intended recipients," the statement read. "We understand that satire can be misconstrued, and as this term's editors of Cherwell we apologize for any offence which might have been caused, and have now resigned."


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