Australian cartoonist blasted for 'racist and sexist' depiction of Serena Williams

15 September, 2018, 15:17 | Author: George Williams
  • Australian cartoonist blasted for 'racist and sexist' depiction of Serena Williams

A cartoon by an Australian artist depicting tennis star Serena Williams during the 2018 U.S. Open final has stirred debate among fans and critics.

Mark Knight's now infamous Herald Sun newspaper illustration has been slammed around the world, with many labelling it blatantly racist.

Williams is depicted with oversized lips, jumping on her broken tennis racket, a dummy lying on the court next to it. In the background, her opponent, Naomi Osaka - who is a woman of Haitian and Japanese descent - is drawn as a white woman with blond hair.

He also Tweeted out the front page of the Herald Sun that reads, "If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very boring indeed".

Knight responded with cartoon he said he drew of Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios who was "behaving badly" at the U.S. Open.

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Both Knight and Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston denied the image was racist, and in defiance, the Herald Sun reprinted the controversial cartoon on its front page alongside other caricatures of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "The world has just gone insane", said cartoonist Mark Knight.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam victor, was beaten by Naomi Osaka in the US Open final after having a heated row with umpire Carlos Ramos.

However, the cartoon still drew widespread criticism, most notably online.

Writing in an opinion article for the New York Times, the 61-year-old Czech-born American said a higher standard needed to be observed when Williams called chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief" and was penalised a key game in the second set.

Williams was "simply outplayed and lost her temper in a big and ill-disciplined blow-up", the column said.

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If you missed all that, we covered the cartoon, as well as Martina Navratilova's reaction to Serena's behaviour, yesterday.

"If the cartoon was purely about bad behaviour I don't see why she had to be depicted the way she was".

Knight's cartoon was criticised after some audiences perceived racist undertones in the exaggerated features present in his depiction of Williams.

Knight said he had sought to reply to comments made by people on social media 'but they don't listen'.

A report by The Times of London cited an anonymous official who claimed that umpires felt they were frequently "not supported" by the USTA and that Ramos was "thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it".

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