Australia paper defends Serena Williams cartoon despite outrage


An Australian newspaper doubled down on its decision to run a cartoon of Serena Williams that has been called racist and sexist.

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

"Mark Knight's cartoon depicting Williams destroying her racquet and jumping up and down, with a dummy spat nearby, mocked the star player for her behaviour", the editorial insisted.

Serena Williams hugs Naomi Osaka, of Japan, after Osaka defeated Williams in the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in NY.

The Herald Sun editor later tweeted a duplicate of Wednesday's front page - which reproduced the toon alongside a progression of others, hitting out at "self-appointed sensors of Mark Knight".

Knight posted the cartoon on his Twitter account Monday, but has since disabled it after attracting tens of thousands of comments, majority critical.

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Popular author JK Rowling said on Twitter, "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".

America's National Association of Black Journalists called the cartoon "repugnant on many levels".

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An Australian cartoonist has faced heavy criticism after depicting tennis superstar Serena Williams in what some have described as a racially offensive illustration.

"It's a cartoon about poor behavior".

"You are a liar", Williams said, while pointing her finger.

Some Twitter users, however, contested that the image was not racist.

'Ramos is tough, one of the best umpires in the world, he did what he had to do in that match, because she overstepped the limit.

Williams, who was fined $17,000 for the three code violations, said after the match male players were held to a lower standard for court conduct.

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

It boils down to the fact that the cartoon "plays on historically racist ways of drawing black people", says actress and activist Kelechi Okafor.

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".