Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Defiant Australian paper reprints ‘racist’ Serena cartoon

Defiant Australian paper reprints ‘racist’ Serena cartoon

Australian newspaper Herald Sun reprinted a controversial illustration of Serena Williams after her argument at the US Open.

An Australian newspaper cartoonist has been labelled a racist following his cartoon depicting Serena Williams during the recent US Open final.

Knight's caricature showed a butch and fat-lipped Williams jumping up and down on her broken racquet, having spat out a dummy.

Many tennis fans and players are still debating whether sexism played a role in the penalty given to Serena Williams in her confrontation with an umpire during the U.S. Open final.

The caricature was published alongside unflattering cartoons of US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.

"If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very tiresome indeed", the paper said in an editorial.

The paper's editor, Damon Johnston, said Knight's cartoon had shown how "a champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage". Lynne Adams tweeted on Tuesday, "Serena Williams is a large black woman who had a complete meltdown, what is racist about this cartoon".

But Knight, a veteran artist, defended his illustration - denying it was sexist or racist, saying the global storm that ensued was a "world gone crazy".

Other US media pointed out that Osaka was portrayed as petite and feminine with jet blonde straight hair - in real life she has dark curly hair with blonde streaks and is taller than Williams.

The image triggered widespread allegations of racism against illustrator Mark Knight. "And I think for Ramos, he was a little defensive at that point, and was fed up as opposed to saying, 'OK, let's get back to business'". "I felt it was telling that white men had somehow managed to make such an historic event, shared by two women of colour, about them and their misplaced rage".

"It was a cartoon based on her tantrum on the day and that's all it was".

Williams, who was seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title on Saturday, was given three code violations by chair umpire Carlos Ramos in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Osaka.

"It's a cartoon about poor behavior". She added, "There have been many times when I was playing that I wanted to break my racket into a thousand pieces". They say I'm racist because I drew Naomi Osaka in the background with blond hair.

"I'm upset that people are offended, but I'm not going to take the cartoon down", Knight said, according to the Guardian.

"What's hilarious about the discussion surrounding Mark Knight's Serena Williams cartoon is how ahistorical he and his supporters seem to be".

'I drew her as an African-American woman, she's powerfully built, she wears these outrageous costumes when she plays tennis - she's interesting to draw.

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