Australian Cartoonist Steps In To Defend His ‘Racist’ Drawing Of Serena Williams
By Izza Sofia, 12 Sep 2018
Image via Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Australian cartoonist Mark Knight has come to the defense of his controversial illustration of tennis player Serena Williams, which has been critiqued as being “racist and sexist” by some, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Knight’s depiction of Williams pulling a tantrum at the 2018 US Open was published in Australian newspaper Herald Sun, following the player’s heated dispute with umpire Carlos Ramos at the US Open final, where she lost to opponent Naomi Osaka.
Knight, however, clarified that it has nothing to do with gender or race and that his cartoon is purely illustrating Williams’ poor behavior on court.
When US sports writer Julie DiCaro responded to Knight’s drawing with the question, “Where was this cartoon for all the men who have broken their rackets over the years?” Knight replied with another cartoon he had drawn of male Australian player Nick Kyrgios at the US Open.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, came with the caption, “Here’s a cartoon I drew a few days before when Australian male tennis player Kyrgios at the US Open was behaving badly. Don’t bring gender into it when it’s all about behaviour. I’ll accept your apology in writing.”
Many, however, have expressed that the Kyrgios caricature supports the fact that female players are treated differently than male players. The cartoon titled ‘What should have happened’ sees a male official bending over to speak to uncooperative Kyrgios, who gets dragged by the ear in the next frame.
The Kyrgios cartoon ignited more criticism, with one user asking, “Is there a reason why you exaggerated Serena’s look to be more stereotypical of how black woman have historically been seen by whites. Even taking out gender this is extremely offensive and inaccurate.”
Knight has since deactivated his Twitter account, along with the removal of his Williams’ illustration. Following her loss at the US Open, Williams has been fined US$17,000 for violating the rules of the tournament.
The National Association of Black Journalist has weighed in on Knight’s cartoon, calling it “repugnant on many levels.”
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
Where was this cartoon for all the men who have broken their rackets over the years?— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) September 10, 2018
@yassmin_a in you're rush to label mark knight a racist, you must have missed Mark Knights other cartoon pic of this guy. Kyrgios you know another tennis player who had a tantrum on court also pic.twitter.com/aYIiqvsdAG— blake carrington (@lancethrustgood) September 12, 2018
I don't see the racism.Caricaturists exaggerate physical features, like Mark Knight did with Nick Kyrgios. It all seems so hypersensitive. pic.twitter.com/ZYIvTP5L1e— Rien van Genderen (@RienvG) September 10, 2018
[via Huffington Post, News.com.au, opening image via Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com]
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