The Boston Herald has apologized for an offensive cartoon that shows President Obama brushing his teeth while the White House intruder sits in a bathtub behind him.
The cartoon by Herald artist Jerry Holbert, which reads "WHITE HOUSE INVADER GOT FARTHER THAN ORIGINALLY THOUGHT," pokes fun at the man who climbed over the White House fence and broke into the mansion in September. But the newspaper is facing backlash as the image includes a stereotype that has readers outraged:
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 1, 2014
The newspaper apologized to anyone who was offended by the cartoon on Wednesday, but argued that it was clearly an example of "satire."
“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,” the Herald's Gwen Gage wrote in a statement. "That said, we sincerely regret if we inadvertently offended anyone and extend our sincere apologies.”
Holbert himself insisted that race was far from his mind when he made the cartoon. From Talking Points Memo:
He told the [Boston Herald radio show] hosts that he had "no intention at all of offending anyone" and that he doesn't "think along the lines of racial jokes." While he acknowledged that his jokes can be "naive" or "stupid," he said he was definitely not racist. He repeatedly emphasized that he "wasn't thinking of the racial element" when he used watermelon toothpaste.
"I was thinking of myself," he said. "I really like watermelon."
Despite the apology, the political cartoon can still be found on the newspaper's website.