Protestors confront Otago Daily Times editor demanding answers about Samoa measles cartoon

Angry protestors demanded answers from the Otago Daily Times editor outside their office in Dunedin this afternoon, as he apologised for publishing a controversial cartoon poking fun at the Samoa measles epidemic.

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Barry Stewart’s apology outside the ODT was interrupted several times by hecklers. Source: 1 NEWS

Garrick Tremain's cartoon for the Otago Daily Times sparked an immediate backlash online - being labelled racist, heartless and insensitive.

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.

ODT editor Barry Stewart personally apologised outside the ODT for the cartoon today.

"I want to apologise unreservedly for the upset and hurt we have caused," he said.

"The content of the cartoon was insensitive and I apologise without reservation for publishing it I am personally embarrassed and I am also deeply upset for my colleagues who have been tainted by this error in judgment," he began.

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Unprecedented public health measures will be put in place in the Pacific island nation. Source: 1 NEWS

During the apology protestors interrupted, with one woman yelling: "What about the children? We have Samoan families in front of you and that is all you can say, we have babies dying right now."

Opinion: I've seen the pain of Samoan mothers who have lost babies - the ODT's cartoon betrayed a nation in mourning

The visbly shaken editor did receive cheers at one point during his statement however, when he announced the ODT would no longer be running cartoons by Mr Tremain.

Upon finishing his statement a protestor demanded to know why the cartoon was published in the first place, to which Mr Stewart responded that he took full responsibility and it was a "huge error."