Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sport | By

Serena Williams 'racist' cartoon defended by Herald Sun

Serena Williams 'racist' cartoon defended by Herald Sun

Australian cartoonist Mark Knight was hit with massive backlash for depicting tennis superstar Serena Williams' US Open meltdown on Saturday in a cartoon for the Herald Sun.

The Herald Sun reprinted Mark Knight's depiction of Williams on its front page the day after the cartoon caused a global twitter storm. Others highlighted the "whitewashed" depiction of Osaka, who has Haitian and Japanese heritage; in the cartoon she has blonde hair and looks "white".

"Criticism of Mark Knight's Serena Williams cartoon shows the world has gone too PC & misunderstands the role of news media cartoons and satire", he said.

Knight reportedly has disabled his Twitter account after his post of the cartoon attracted tens of thousands of comments, mostly critical.

An Australian newspaper republished a controversial cartoon of American tennis great Serena Williams, defying widespread accusations it is racist.

Perhaps Knight wasn't thinking about this at all when he drew the cartoon - it's believable - but when confronted with the criticism, he continued to lash out. "Mark Knight's a man of the greatest character-proud he's in our paper", said Herald Sun Sunday Editor Nick Papps.

"But to focus on that, I think, is missing the point". She was then docked a point for a second violation after smashing her racket, followed by a penalty in which she lost a game because of "verbal abuse" of the chair umpire.

"Honestly, my mouth dropped open, because I do cover a lot of black news and a lot of it is hard to take, but when I saw this - a blatant caricature of one of the most celebrated athletes in the world - it was offensive, shocking and completely uncalled for", she said.

He told the paper: "The cartoon was just about Serena on the day having a tantrum".

"These were the images used to justify African enslavement and racial segregation in the past; they are still used to control black lives in the present", she says.

Things seemed to settle down as Williams went on to break Osaka for a 3-1 lead, but she gave the break right back in the next game with a pair of double faults, prompting the former champion to smash her racquet on the court.

"It rightly mocks poor behavior by a tennis legend", Johnson tweeted.

"When I drew President Obama, I always focused on his eyebrows, his chin, his ears and his mole".

But Knight's critics, which included Martin Luther King's daughter Bernice King, say the Sun's defense of Knight is "uncomfortable" and "without consideration for the painful historical context of such imagery and how it can support biases and racism today", she said.

"Caricature is hard. I've often taken the Spider-Man mantra to heart: 'With great power comes great responsibility, '" says Litton, a veteran sports cartoonist and National Cartoonists Society award victor who has also caricatured tennis champ John McEnroe.

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