Australian newspaper that printed racist Serena Williams cartoon doubles down as 'PC' war goes global
Herald Sun defended its cartoonist Mark Knight's depiction of the 23-time Grand Slam winner, where Serena Williams is portrayed as a large figure with exaggerated pink lips.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned Australian newspaper, Herald Sun, doubled down on its defense of a controversial cartoon of tennis champion Serena Williams and republished the racist illustration on the front page of the newspaper on Wednesday.
The newspaper defended its cartoonist Mark Knight's depiction of the 23-time Grand Slam winner, where he portrayed Williams as a large figure with exaggerated pink lips as she jumps on a smashed racket and as a baby's pacifier lies nearby. The cartoon referred to the row between Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos during her final match against Japanese opponent Naomi Osaka at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.
The cartoon, which was first published on Monday after Williams' outburst at the US Open final, was slammed by many as they accused Knight of basing the illustration on racist and sexist tropes and perpetuating the stereotype of the "angry black woman."
The newspaper, despite garnering worldwide condemnation for the illustration, republished the racist cartoon again on Wednesday along with several other works of Knight, with the headline: "Welcome to PC World.” The front page of the paper included caricatures of figures like Kim Jon-Un, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump.
1. How is it that absolutely none of these are funny?— Nakkiah Lui (@nakkiahlui) September 11, 2018
2. The majority of these are totally fine. The argument is surely you can do a caricature that doesn’t rely on racist stereotypes?
3. Woah, Herald Sun, you are extra. Chill. pic.twitter.com/PAvj2WGm8t
The newspaper said: "If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed."
Knight's caricature of Williams was also criticized by prominent figures, including Harry Potter fame author JK Rowling and popular rapper Nicki Minaj.
"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," 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. https://t.co/YOxVMuTXEC— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 10, 2018
While Australian writer and comedian Nakkiah Lui said: "The majority of these are totally fine. The argument is surely you can do a caricature that doesn’t rely on racist stereotypes?"
Critics have also accused Knight of "whitewashing" William's opponent, Osaka, who was depicted as a white woman with blonde hair asking the umpire: "Can you just let her win?" The cartoonist, however, has denied all the accusations, stating that it is not racist and "the world has just gone crazy."
Knight, while talking to the Herald Sun, said: "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. The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behavior on the day, not about race. The world has just gone crazy.”
The newspaper's editor, Damon Johnston, defended Knight by saying: "A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that. It had nothing to do with gender or race. This was about a bad sport being mocked.” Johnston reportedly deactivated his Twitter account after receiving a flood of critical comments by the users over the controversial cartoon.