Boston Herald cartoonist says sorry, calls Obama watermelon cartoon an innocent mistake
The creator of a racist cartoon that made fun of an intruder entering the president’s home apologized and called the cartoon an innocent mistake.
Jerry Holbert, whose cartoon appeared in Wednesday’s Boston Herald, took to the airwaves Wednesday morning.
“I want to apologize to anyone I offended who was hurt by the cartoon,” Holbert said this morning on Boston Herald Radio. “It was certainly, absolutely, not my intention.”
The cartoon, a satire on recent Secret Service failures to protect the White House, depicts President Obama being surprised by an intruder in his bathtub, who asks “Have you tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste?” A caption reads: “White House Invader Got Farther Than Originally Thought.”
Critics of the cartoon are slamming it as racist. Holbert claimed he came up with the idea to use watermelon flavor after finding “kids Colgate watermelon flavor” toothpaste in his bathroom at home.
“I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations,” Holbert said. “I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.”
Although the cartoon appeared as he drew it in the Herald, Holbert said he was “confused” when he received a call from his national syndicate last night asking that he change the flavor to “raspberry.”
When asked if he thinks he should have called the Herald after that discussion, Holbert admitted he “should have done that.”
“That was where I would say I wish I had done that,” he said.
The Herald also issued an apology for the cartoon: “As Jerry Holbert discussed on Boston Herald Radio this morning, his cartoon satirizing the U.S. Secret Service breach at the White House has offended some people and to them we apologize. His choice of imagery was absolutely not meant to be hurtful. We stand by Jerry, who is a veteran cartoonist with the utmost integrity.”
What do you think? Innocent mistake on the cartoonist and paper’s part? Or just a response to the backlash?
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