Published: Wed, September 12, 2018

Newspaper reprints controversial cartoon of Serena Williams

Newspaper reprints controversial cartoon of Serena Williams

Mark Knight responded to those comments, saying, "I drew this cartoon Sunday night after seeing the US Open final, and seeing the world's best tennis player have a tantrum and thought that was interesting", he said.

Mark Knight's interpretation of Serena Williams. It's a cartoon about poor behavior.

Serena Williams of the United States argues with referee Brian Earley during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan.

The anger came thick and fast, and it quickly became less about Knight's cartoon and more about perceived racism in Australia.

Tobi Oredein, a freelance journalist and founder of Black Ballad, a platform which aims to tell the stories of black women, told HuffPost UK: "As a black woman I was disgusted but not surprised when I saw the cartoon".

Commentator Michael Cavna of The Washington Post said "Knight draws facial features reflecting the dehumanising Jim Crow caricatures common in the 19th and 20th centuries", the era of segregation.

While the newspaper and Knight, in his comments in the paper, stood by the cartoon, it appeared the social media outrage was too much.


Cartoonist Paul Zanetti, a friend of Knight, said cartooning was under threat from political correctness, and the Herald Sun front page "spelt out exactly where we are at this point". "Huge reaction which I think, in itself, is fascinating". In other words, the cartoon is a work of idiocy, but it still shows us some truth.

This isn't the first time a cartoon in a News Corp. newspaper has drawn allegations of racism.

Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling led the charge against the cartoon yesterday, tweeting, "Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman (Naomi Osaka) into a faceless prop".

Rapper Nicki Minaj, comedian Kathy Griffin and basketballer Ben Simmons were also critical of the cartoon. What I need to correct in that original statement, though, is that bad cartoons can't do that, because this one clearly does.

"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 wrote in an editorial on its front page.

Along with reprinting Serena, the paper added other "controversial" cartoons from the artist including a chubby Kim Jong-un and a villainous Donald Trump.

"However, it was a reminder that when a black woman, especially a dark-skinned black woman, shows emotions - she is quickly reduced to stereotypes such as the "angry black woman" or likened to animalistic imager, y to say that we aren't seen or allowed to be seen as full human beings, who can show a range of emotions".

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