Controversy brews over cartoon dubbed ‘racist’
by Carol Thompson
The Boston Herald sparked an Internet flurry of comments accusing the newspaper of racism over an editorial cartoon that was published this morning.
The cartoon features President Barack Obama and a reference to the stereotype that African Americans love watermelon. The cartoon was in reference to a recent White House security breach that resulted in an intruder gaining access to the East Room.
On its website, it’s reported that Boston Herald cartoonist Jerry Holbert took to the airwaves this morning to apologize for a political cartoon that set off a social media firestorm after appearing on the paper’s editorial page.
“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 Herald further noted, “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.”
The Herald has also issued an apology for the cartoon, saying, “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.”
The word watermelon has been replaced with “raspberry,” according to media sources.
Image: Boston Herald