Serena cartoon sparks social media outrage

Sergio Cunningham
September 13, 2018

"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", Knight said.

Serena Williams argued with the chair umpire, September 8, during a match against Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the women's finals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in NY.

The Herald Sun and the cartoonist denied the accusation, and despite the reactions and outrage it provoked, the paper reprinted the cartoon on Wednesday under the front page headline "WELCOME TO PC WORLD".

Knight posted the cartoon on his Twitter account.

Knight's caricature showed a butch and fat-lipped Williams jumping up and down on her broken racquet, having spat out a dummy.

Knight's cartoon was in response to Serena Williams' meltdown at the U.S. Open both during and after her defeat to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open.

An Australian cartoonist faced criticism yesterday for portraying tennis superstar Serena Williams using what Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling described as "racist and sexist tropes".

Damon Johnston, Herald Sun editor, echoed the cartoonist's in the paper's official statement on Tuesday.

"Black women are constantly being reminded by society's beauty standard that we're too dark-skinned, our hair is not straight enough, our lips are too big, our thighs are too large and that any emotion we feel outside of pure ecstasy is anger", she said.

Whether it is was intended or not, Knight's cartoon has been widely condemned overseas with many arguing it reinforces a growing global perception that Australia is a country of racists, with one notable exception.

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The New York Times wrote that the cartoon reflected a "wider pattern" of ignorance from Australians around race issues, saying the conversations in Australia were not as "robust and layered" as in the US.

The cartoon was also criticised by the veteran civil rights campaigner Reverend Jesse Jackson, who said it was "despicable", and Melbourne-born basketball star Ben Simmons.

"I don't know how you draw an African-American person without making them look like an African-American person", he said.

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

The Washington DC-based National Association of Black Journalists denounced it as "repugnant".

Serena Williams is yet to comment on the cartoon.

Yesterday, the Herald Sun used its entire front cover to try and defend the cartoon, suggesting those who objected to it were PC and are all out to make our lives "very tiresome indeed".

"What we have is a bunch of people who get paid to publicly exercise their implied freedom to speech then whinging when people disagree with what they have had the privilege of being paid to say".

Critics said the cartoon used racist and sexist stereotypes.

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