J.K. Rowling Calls Out Cartoonist For ‘Racist’ Depiction Of Serena Williams
By Izza Sofia, 11 Sep 2018
Images via Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com (left) and Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com (right)
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has described a recent cartoon of Serena Williams as “racist and sexist.”
The illustration—drawn by editorial cartoonist Mark Knight that appeared in Australian newspaper Herald Sun—shows Williams at the US Open throwing a tantrum on court. She is seen jumping on her smashed racket and having spat out her pacifier.
In the background, umpire Carlos Ramos speaks to Williams’ opponent Naomi Osaka—pictured white and blonde despite being of Japanese and Haitian heritage—saying, “Can you just let her win?”
The drawing follows Williams’ heated dispute with Ramos at the US Open final, where she lost to Osaka.
Rowling took to Twitter to criticize Knight after coming across the drawing. She tweeted, “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.”
The drawing has garnered much critique from the public as well, where many commented on Knight reducing Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, into a “big cry baby.” The cartoonist also wrongly illustrates Osaka, who in reality is tan with curly hair, as a blonde with a lighter skin tone.
On user wrote, “I’m not sure what is worse the portrayal of Serena or whitewashing Osaka. This is disgusting.” Another commented, “How did a mainstream outlet publish something so offensive?”
Take a look at some of the responses below.
Australia’s finest cartoonist Mark Knight has the strongest support of his colleagues for his depiction of Serena Williams’ petulance. It’s about bad behaviour, certainly not race. The PC brigade are way off the mark...again. pic.twitter.com/CeHaoRG6gf— Peter Blunden (@PeterBlunden_) September 11, 2018
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
Ppl like you calling #serenawilliams— Kiera Kelly (@Kite_DP_Kiera) September 11, 2018
outburst at @usopen a 'tantrum' either know nothing about tennis or only saw the highlights. Either learn about the game or watch the entire match. There is no way an umpire would make those calls in a mens game.
Your cartoon is appalling.
You manage to be racist on several different levels here, not only in how you depict Serena, but also in erasing Naomi into a skinny blonde. Impressively shitty work.— Ian Rose (@ianrosewrites) September 10, 2018
I would say delete this, but this display of racism is so blatant in the year 2018 that it belongs in a museum to raise awareness to future generations about what African-Americans are going through today.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 10, 2018
Well #MarkKnight your "cartoon" is disrespectful and inaccurate...And looks like white supremacist propaganda from the 1950s. The world has seen how you and the @theheraldsun think Black people look 🤔 https://t.co/PYEmNTe8kh— Big Brian B (@bestbigbness) September 10, 2018
The idiot cartoonist #MarkKnight seems not only blind to his own racism, but defensive of it. His misogynoir is working overtime, portraying Serena as some kind of overweight Jim Crow "mammy," and Naomi as a skinny blonde white woman. This guy is beyond "history lesson" help.— Alyce Miller (@AlyceLMiller) September 10, 2018
[via CBS News, opening image via Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com, Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com]
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