Aussie newspaper defends cartoonist after controversial Serena Williams depiction

Aussie newspaper defends cartoonist after controversial Serena Williams depiction

Aussie newspaper defends cartoonist after controversial Serena Williams depiction

The Australian newspaper behind a universally admonished, racist cartoon of Serena Williams stubbornly doubled down on its defense of it on Wednesday and even reprinted it on its front page despite a wave of global outrage.

"The art of editorial cartooning is a visual dialogue on the issues of the day, yet this cartoon grossly inaccurately depicts two women of colour at the US Open, one of the grandest stages of professional sports".

However, the executive chairman of News Corp Australia Michael Miller defended Knight, saying the criticism of his cartoon "shows the world has gone too PC".

JK Rowling and Nicki Minaj were among a "tidal wave" of critics to denounce the image by Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight after it appeared in its paper on Monday.

The cartoon shows a player who's supposed to be Williams, squat, muscular, with a squinting and big-lipped face lifted straight out of Little Black Sambo cartoons, furiously stomping on a broken racket as the tennis official asks a slim, blonde player (presumably Osaka) if she'll just let her opponent win.

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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 newspaper's editor Damon Johnston proudly shared a photograph of it on Twitter.

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

The tagline 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". In 2009, civil rights leaders and others criticized a New York Post cartoon that some interpreted as comparing President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee.

"People said I'm a racist because I drew Serena as an African American woman", Knight said.

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So maybe it wasn't Knight's intent to make a racist cartoon.

The portroyal of Osaka is equally controversial, as the 20-year-old, one of the rising stars in women's tennis, is a dark-skinned Japanese woman, but is pictured in the cartoon as a white blonde. "It's getting harder to be a cartoonist in this insane anxious world - in this fragile angry humourless environment where leniency and understanding are in risky decline, and where psychic infections spread chaotically on social media with awful consequences". Lynne Adams tweeted on Tuesday, "Serena Williams is a large black woman who had a complete meltdown, what is racist about this cartoon".

Freelance journalist Funmi Olutoye told HuffPost UK she thought the cartoon played into negative portrayals of the 14-times Wimbledon champion in the media.

Knight was criticised in some quarters for being "racist and sexist". And what that means is you can't criticise minority groups for poor behaviour.

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