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Jakarta Post

We will not rock you: Dems rapped over Freddie Mercury cartoon rip-off

  • Devina Heriyanto
    Devina Heriyanto

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, November 4, 2018   /   12:37 pm
We will not rock you: Dems rapped over Freddie Mercury cartoon rip-off An illustration of rock band Queen's front man Freddie Mercury and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. (

The Democratic Party’s official Twitter account apologized on Saturday for altering a cartoon featuring Queen front man Freddie Mercury and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo without permission from its creator.  

On Saturday morning, in a now-deleted tweet, the party’s account, @Demokrat_TV, shared the cartoon, which only shows Mercury standing beside a bicycle with the party’s flag on it.

Mercury is seen striking his well-known pose, donning the iconic yellow jacket — in remembrance of the band’s live performance at Wembley Stadium in 1986.

The party was apparently trying to ride the popularity of Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic about the late singer and songwriter. 

Faisal Reza, a Twitter with the handle @monstreza, called out the party for plagiarism, saying that the uploaded image was created by Hari Prasetyo, a well-known illustrator with more than 27,000 followers on Instagram.

Faisal questioned whether the party had asked for permission from Hari to alter and erase the signature from the original image.

The creator later tweeted that the Dems had not asked for permission.

The original picture shows Mercury saying, “I want to ride my bicycle” -- a nod to Queen’s “Bicycle Race” -- beside a bicycle and President Jokowi. The incumbent candidate is wearing his usual white shirt and responds to Mercury with, “Yes, you can. But first, name five types of fish.” This is a reference to Jokowi’s habit of giving away bicycles to those who can answer his questions, including the fish one.


A post shared by -hariprast- (@harimerdeka) on

Through his Instagram account @harimerdeka, Hari often shares illustrations related to current issues in Indonesian politics. His images often go viral, such as an illustration of Jokowi and his rival Prabowo Subianto hugging during the 2018 Asian Games this past August.

He has created a number of cartoons sympathetic to Jokowi. In 2014, Hari released the popular comic Demokreatif: Kisah Blusukan Jokowi (Demokreatif: Stories of Jokowi’s Impromptu Visits), a work he said reflected his hope for the incumbent candidate.

Hari told that he had been sharing his drawings since 2014 to counter smear campaigns that dominated social media nearing the presidential election.


A post shared by -hariprast- (@harimerdeka) on

Soon after it was revealed that the Dems had plagiarized the picture, Twitter erupted with the hashtag #DemokratMintaSepeda(#DemocratsWantBicycle). Netizens commented that the image was evidence that the Dems, who now belonged in the opposition camp, actually supported Jokowi after all.

Through @Demokrat_TV, the Dems have since apologized, saying that they did not know the original creator of the image and that they had taken it from a WhatsApp group. The replies and other tweets with #DemokratMintaSepeda put the party under pressure.

Twitter user @talaikparangsaid, “Democrats often mocked @jokowi, but as they say, haters are the true fans. #DemokratMintaSepeda