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Tremain apologizes for Samoa measles cartoon

After a furious backlash against his cartoon about the Samoa measles epidemic, cartoonist Garrick Tremain has apologised.

 Tremain posted an apology on his website, just hours after defending it as a "simple, innocuous joke" and refusing to issue a public apology.

It reads: "An apology to those offended by my cartoon making reference to the current measles epidemic in Samoa.

 "The cartoon should not have been put forward for publication and I acknowledge the lack of judgement on my part."

 His apology follows that of the Otago Daily Times which published his cartoon.

 The newspaper said it was a deeply regrettable error in judgment.

 "The content and the timing of the cartoon were insensitive," Otago Daily Times editor Barry Stewart wrote.

 It shows two people walking out of a travel agent and one remarking that the least popular spots right now are the ones people are picking up in Samoa.

 Garrick Tremain had told Radio New Zealand's First Up that while it was understandable people were upset, he wouldn't publicly apologise to Samoa for "a simple, light-hearted joke".

 "If you've read the cartoon, the basis is a travel agent taking the wrong end of the stick and making a stupid comment.

 "I can quite understand why it has upset people. It's a very poor piece of timing for such a cartoon - I'm the first to agree with that.

 He said had he realised the epidemic was going to be "all over the paper" and a main item on Radio New Zealand that day he would not have presented it.


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