Artist says Serena Williams Cartoon was about "poor behaviour... not race"

Paola Ditto
Settembre 14, 2018

The subhead read, "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".

"If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena William cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very tiresome indeed", the cover reads.

"She's a fantastic tennis player and we should all see past that", commuter Donna Weitacher said.

Serena Williams of the US hits a return to Naomi Osaka of Japan during their 2018 US Open women's singles final match.

The furore comes as Knight, a respected cartoonist with Melbourne-based newspaper The Herald Sun, deleted his Twitter account and the paper doubled down on the cartoon with an editorial front page attacking political correctness.

In the match, the umpire, Carlos Santos, issued code violations because Williams broke her racket and because her coach made a coaching gesture during play. An indignant Williams emphatically defended herself, denying she had cheated.

Rallying in support of the 23-time Grand Slam champion, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) on Monday called for the equal treatment of all tennis players, male or female.

The cartoon depicted Serena as a petulant child jumping in the air with a smashed racket on the ground, with a dummy lying on the court next to her.

"To make matters worse, he depicts Osaka, who is of Japanese and Haitian heritage heritage as a petite pale woman speaking to the umpire as he pleads with her to "Let [Serena] win".

"I was deeply offended".

Knight told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he had "no knowledge of those cartoons or that period" and that people were "making stuff up".

"When I drew that cartoon, I wasn't thinking of racial politics in America. It's like our opinions don't matter".

Other cartoons by Knight have been circulated on social media in recent days showing that this was far from a one-off occurrence.

Regardless of race or sex, they are lampooned due to their behaviour.

"This isn't satire - it is disgusting racist caricature", Twitter user Rose Weber wrote on Tuesday. "Spike Lee - who, while attending an earlier U.S. Open round, hailed Williams" greatness as on par with Muhammad Ali's - created a powerful montage of such racist pop-culture caricatures in his 2000 film "Bamboozled". And Michael Miller, the executive chairman of News Corp.

The newspaper also tried to suggest News Corporation - owned by Rupert Murdoch, and the publisher of news.com.au - had stirred racism "for decades" and bizarrely suggested this had intensified as the Liberal party struggled in the poll. This is what he does for a living and we've all appreciated what he's done over the years in all different cartoons.

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".

"Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom above criticism", she said.

"I don't believe them", the "Avengers" actor says.

The cartoonist responded to criticism by pointing out that it was only about Williams' behavior on the court and said those pointing out it was racist and sexist were misinterpreting the whole thing.

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