Australian paper defends ‘racist’ Serena Williams cartoon with front-page stand

Bobbie Reid
September 15, 2018

A controversial cartoon of US tennis star Serena Williams, showing the player as having a temper tantrum at the US Open, has been reprinted in an Australian newspaper.

Herald Sun editor, Damon Johnson also chimed in.

This Mark Knight cartoon, published by the Herald Sun, depicts Serena Williams as an irate, hulking, big-mouthed Black woman jumping up and down on a broken racket.

The Australian newspaper slapped the drawing on the front page of its Wednesday edition alongside the headline: "Welcome to PC World".

Next to the headline, the paper said: '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'.

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"People said I'm a racist because I drew Serena as an African American woman", Knight explained.

Williams, who was ranked 17th in the world, lost to 20th ranked Osaka, 6-2, 6-4, on September 8.

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The cartoon exploded throughout the media and online. The artist has strongly refuted such claims by saying that it has nothing to do with race, whereas Tweet floods in support of Williams, who was being victimized and portrayed in the cartoon by provoking racism.

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos issued a code violation to Williams during the march, saying she had received coaching during the match - a point Williams strongly denied. Sportscaster and former pro Mary Carillo described him Monday as "very, very respected", and she said that Williams occasionally "acts like a bully".

"It's a cartoon about poor behavior".

"The September 10 cartoon not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams' depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like", it said.

Williams was fined $17,000 Sunday by the tournament referee's office for her coaching, racket destruction and verbal abuse infractions.

It boils down to the fact that the cartoon "plays on historically racist ways of drawing black people", says actress and activist Kelechi Okafor. Williams is drawn noticeably larger with stereotypical and exaggerated black features. She protested and demanded an apology from the umpire, who penalized her a game.

Apart from being levied three code violation, Serena was later fined United States dollars 17,000, stirring the tennis world and triggering a broader debate about double standards towards men and women in the sport.

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