The Boston Herald received a swell of backlash after it published a cartoon featuring President Barack Obama and a joke about watermelon toothpaste.

Boston Herald's Obama Cartoon

The cartoon in question, written by the Herald’s Jerry Holbert, was meant to take a jab at the failures of the secret service. It pictures a White House bathroom with the would-be intruder hanging out in the bathtub, calling over to Obama brushing his teeth, “Have you tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste?”

After the cartoon was published, readers took to Twitter to condemn both Holbert and the Boston Herald's staff for allowing the racially insensitive cartoon to get to print.

Talking on Boston Herald Radio, Holbert attempted to apologize for the cartoon. The cartoonist claimed that he in no way set out to draw a racist cartoon, and that he chose “watermelon” because it’s the flavor his children are currently using.

“I want to apologize to anyone I offended who was hurt by the cartoon,” Holbert said. “It was certainly, absolutely, not my intention.” After claiming he was inspired by the “kids Colgate watermelon flavor” toothpaste he spotted in his bathroom, he added, “I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotation. I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.”

Following Holbert’s apology, the Boston Herald itself attempted to further clear the air while offering support to their employee, releasing a statement that reads, “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."

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