Via Jim Romenesko

The latest scandal to hit President Barack Obama involves not only the Secret Service but the security of the White House itself after a man scaled the WH fence and got so far as the East Room before being arrested. The subsequent search of his vehicle yielded enough of an arsenal to make Rambo blush.

That didn’t stop the Boston Herald from running a political cartoon about said intruder and using the tired and trite “black people love watermelon” joke. Needless to say every bit of backlash hit them and they offered the “apology that isn’t really an apology”.

“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,” Herald spokesperson Gwen Gage said in a statement.

“That said, we sincerely regret if we inadvertently offended anyone and extend our sincere apologies.”

The original cartoon as discovered by Gawker displayed the intruder in the same position but instead of watermelon, asked about “raspberry” toothpaste. Why exactly was it changed when it landed at the front door of the Herald? Well, don’t ask Holbert. He just happens to be a fan of a certain particular fruit that has been lampooned at blacks since the minstrel days.

He told the 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.”

The cartoon is still on The Boston Herald‘s website.