Australian newspaper insists controversial Serena Williams cartoon is not racist

Rebecca Wanzo

Mark Knight, the artist whose cartoon depiction of star tennis player Serena Williams got the internet buzzing has said that the cartoon isn't racist.

Knight said that he created the cartoon after watching Williams' "tantrum" against Osaka over the weekend to illustrate "her poor behavior on the day, not about race", The Associated Press reported.

Melbourne-based tabloid The Herald Sun published a drawing by editorial cartoonist depicting Williams throwing a fit on the court and destroying her racquet after the 23-time grand slam champion lost in the final match of the USA open to Naomi Osaka.

Cartoonist Mark Knight created the image after Williams' outburst during the U.S. Open final where she lost to Naomi Osaka.

For its Wednesday edition, the Herald Sun filled its front page with cartoons, including the contentious Williams image, along with likenesses of USA president Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.

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 tiresome indeed".

The above is actually relevant when talking about Mark Knight's cartoon for the Herald Sun, especially when you consider how the outlet reacted to the worldwide uproar.

The cartoon comes a day after Williams was fined $17,000 for three violations she committed at the U.S. Open.

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Despite evidence to the contrary, a mob of Twitter users would go after Knight declaring him and his cartoon racist. Then Williams got a game penalty for the verbal abuse she directed towards Ramos.

Knight's portrayal of Osaka as blond and light-skinned also drew criticism for being racist.

"I felt Mark Knight's cartoon was too reminiscent of images drawn from the 1920s and '30s".

Knight's detractors included author JK Rowling, who said: "Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop".

Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, which publishes the Melbourne's Herald Sun, defended his cartoonist.

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

"I'm here fighting for women's rights and women's equality", Williams said at a news conference after the match.

"I didn't anticipate that with this cartoon which was basically just a cartoon about a sportswoman having a hissy fit on centre court at the US Open". She's interesting to draw. "After a couple more detours, I landed on one with the "male" symbol as a tennis racket labeled 'sexism" that Serena was breaking. "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".

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