Boston Herald Sorry for Obama 'Watermelon' Joke
Cartoonist says reference was 'naive' and not intended to offend
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2014 2:09 PM CDT
The Boston Herald and cartoonist Jerry Holbert have apologized for the watermelon joke.   (

(Newser) – A political cartoonist at the Boston Herald set out to make fun of the Secret Service but wound up apologizing for a racial gaffe involving the president. The cartoon depicts an intruder in a White House bathtub asking a pajamas-clad President Obama, "Have you tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste?" Cartoonist Jerry Holbert and the newspaper have apologized for what both are calling an inadvertent mistake, reports CBS Boston. Holbert tells Boston Herald Radio that the watermelon idea came about simply because his kids brush with watermelon-flavored Colgate.

“I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations,” he says. “I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.” Nobody else at the Herald was apparently thinking along those lines, either, and the cartoon appeared both online and in print. But an editor at national syndicate raised a red flag, called Holbert, and asked him to change watermelon to "raspberry." Holbert did so for the syndicated version, and you can see that one here. He did not, however, relay the syndicate's concerns to the Herald. "I wish I had done that," he says.