The Boston Herald has issued an apology for a cartoon that ran in today's paper many have criticized as racist.
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The cartoon, drawn by Jerry Holbert, features a depiction of a White House intruder asking President Barack Obama if he's tried "the new watermelon flavored toothpaste?"
The caption to the cartoon states "White House Invader Got Farther Than Originally Thought."
Herald spokeswoman Gwen Gage said in a statement to CBS Boston,“Contributors to our Editorial and Opinion pages have the right to express their views, and satire is clearly used in Jerry Holbert’s cartoon today.”
She added, “That said, we sincerely regret if we inadvertently offended anyone and extend our sincere apologies.”
Holbert, the cartoonist, went on Boston Herald Radio this morning to say he was "completely naive" to any racial connotations regarding the watermelon reference.
"I wasn't thinking about that at all," he said.
The backlash on social media was swift, with many blasting the tabloid for playing on racial stereotypes, criticizing the apology as lackluster and Holbert's explanation as implausible:
Boston Herald issues an [unsurprisingly] unapologetic "apology" for POTUS cartoon featuring watermelon toothpaste. http://t.co/cOC87z3fmq
— [Bae]lock Holmes (@Apten0dytes) October 1, 2014
Yup... the Boston Herald really ran this cartoon today http://t.co/6QAE6rJcIL pic.twitter.com/cH6qsH0P7z
— Rob Cohen (@Rob_Coh) October 1, 2014
This is a non-apology... "Boston Herald Apologizes For Obama ‘Watermelon Toothpaste’ Cartoon" « CBS Boston http://t.co/H3Nv9WfakB
— Basic Black (@BasicBlackNow) October 1, 2014
@bomani_jones Nope. Racist cartoon from Boston Herald. Things never change.
— Kate Tuttle (@katekilla) October 1, 2014
That cartoon in the Boston Herald is one of the most blatantly racist and offensive things I've seen in a while. Racism is very much alive. — Matt Murphy (@MattMurph24) October 1, 2014
Boston was never a Black friendly city. i’m not surprised by that boston herald cartoon — #StopKillingUs (@LesIzMore) October 1, 2014
Yeah right. RT @keithboykin: Cartoonist Jerry Holbert: "I was thinking of myself. I really like watermelon." http://t.co/kQ7gVl6dR4
— Imani ABL (@AngryBlackLady) October 1, 2014
Given Holbert's history, I don't think he was trying to make intruder look bad. He was trying to make Obama look bad. pic.twitter.com/V6nDrDhQ3a
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 1, 2014