Obama ‘Watermelon’ Cartoon Causes Backlash Against Boston Herald

An Obama cartoon published by The Boston Herald on Wednesday has been criticized by social media users as being racist and offensive.

The cartoon, shown below, is a satire on the recent news that an intruder got farther the White House than was previously known last month. It depicts President Obama being startled while brushing his teeth in his bathroom by an intruder in the bathtub, asking if he has “tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste.”

Obama 'Watermelon' Cartoon causes backlash for Boston Herald

Critics quickly slammed the cartoon, noting the racial aspect of “watermelon flavored” in the intruder’s comment and accusing the cartoonist of playing off a familiar African-American stereotype. Many of them took it as a racial jab against President Obama.

The Boston Herald wasted no time in issuing an apology for publishing the cartoon.

“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.”

Cartoonist Jerry Holbert also apologized on Boston Herald Radio, saying he was “naïve” about the racial undertones and “wasn’t thinking along those lines.” He said that he only used watermelon because he liked watermelon flavored things, and there was kids’ watermelon flavored toothpaste in his bathroom at home.

“I had no intention at all of offending anybody. I thought this was a very lighthearted cartoon,” Holbert said. “Naive, stupid, those kinds of things I understand. But racist I’m definitely not.”

“I want to apologize to anyone I offended who was hurt by the cartoon,” he said. “It was certainly, absolutely, not my intention.”

Holbert did admit that a syndicate, which used “raspberry” instead of “watermelon” in the cartoon when it was published, called him on Tuesday night to get permission to change the flavor due to racial concerns. ” The Boston Globe quoted him as saying he disagreed with the syndicate’s assessment, but now realizes he should have called the Herald after it was expressed.

“It was stupid on my part, but, you know, racism is sort of innately stupid, and I will not participate in that,” Holbert said.

Social media users had quite a bit to say about the cartoon.

Racist comments, whether intentional or not, have gotten quite a few media outlets and celebrities in trouble lately, such as this SiriusXM radio host, who The Inquisitr reported lost his job over a racist Twitter rant earlier this year.

Do you think the cartoon is racist? Or are people being too sensitive?

[Image via NPO Radio 1]

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