Twitter has been aflutter over a cartoon that recently appeared in the Boston Herald, and the newspaper, as well as the cartoonist behind the controversial ‘funny’, have made apologies.
The cartoon, meant to poke fun at the recent Secret Service breach which saw an armed intruder make it wa(aaaaa)y too far into the White House, depicted said intruder sitting in Obama’s bathtub while the President brushes his teeth.
“Have you tried the new Watermelon flavored toothpaste?” asks the man.
The cartoon went viral (and not in the good way) soon after publication, as people pointed out that it played off a particularly prevalent racial stereotype involving African Americans and watermelon.
— bostonmagazine.com (@BostonMagazine) October 1, 2014
The cartoonist in question, Jerry Holbert, recently went on the record – apologizing to any and all who were offended.
“I want to apologize to anyone I offended who was hurt by the cartoon,” Holbert told Boston Herald Radio. “It was certainly, absolutely, not my intention … I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations. I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.”
What was he thinking? Apparently, the idea to go with ‘watermelon’ as opposed to any other flavoring was sparked by his kids’ watermelon-flavored toothpaste.
The newspaper echoed Holbert’s insistence that the cartoon was in no way meant to offend.
“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.”
Though the original version appeared in the Herald, an alternate version with “raspberry” instead of watermelon was drafted for syndication.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) October 1, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons