Australian paper defends 'racist' Serena Williams cartoon

Tim Clayton- Corbis via Getty Images

In the Herald Sun, Knight drew a cartoon that showed Williams having an on-court meltdown during the US Open final and the umpire urging her opponent, eventual victor Naomi Osaka, to let the 23-time grand slam victor win.

Don Cheadle isn't buying the Herald Sun's explanation for its Serena Williams cartoon one bit. telling TMZ Sports the newspaper DEFINITELY knows the drawing is racist as hell.

On Sunday, Osaka claimed her maiden grand slam title in truly extraordinary circumstances at the US Open, as a furious Serena Williams became embroiled in a stunning row with umpire Carlos Ramos.

Knight has rejected suggestions his depiction of Williams was racist or sexist, while others said it drew on racist tropes of African-Americans.

The Herald Sun reported Knight had suspended his Twitter account in response to abuse towards his family over the cartoon.

In the background a line judge is asking Williams' opponent, Japan's Naomi Osaka, if she could just let Williams win to end the tantrum.

The cartoon also shows Naomi Osaka, a dark-skinned Japanese woman, as a white blonde.

Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston extended the defence on Twitter as he denied any racism or sexism.

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Stefanovic added he "hoped that she's okay with it" and that Williams would travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open in early 2019.

Beneath it, the newspaper offered this commentary: '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'. Today it ran the cartoon again, this time on the front cover, along with depictions of more public figures, with commentary alongside each one about why "self-appointed censors" might not want to see them.

The image by Australian cartoonist Mark Knight has created uproar in the United States with commentators saying it is an example of Australia's "blind racism".

"I saw Knight's cartoon and was not offended or angered".

In a searing piece, The Washington Post's cartoonist Michael Cavna said the "racist" sketch was reminiscent of the "vile imagery" popularised during the era of racial segregation in the US. She did not stomp on her racket during the match as the cartoon portrayed. "It was about her integrity, and anybody who doesn't get that is perpetuating the erasure that so many black women feel when they are trying to speak up for themselves".

The Herald Sun has hit out at those who criticised Mark Knight's drawing, which shows Williams jumping over a broken racquet next to a baby's dummy. "I think the only solution to that is for ordinary people to fight and retaliate back much louder, so they can hear us from the back of their stadiums".

"A few days beforehand I had actually drawn a cartoon of Australian Nick Kyrgios and his bad behaviour at the US Open, so I'm not targeting [Williams]".

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