Australian newspaper insists controversial Serena Williams cartoon is not racist

Image Artist Blasted for Racist Depiction of Serena Williams at U.S. Open Image #2

Image Artist Blasted for Racist Depiction of Serena Williams at U.S. Open Image #2

Mark Knight's cartoon, published Monday in the Melbourne-based Herald Sun, depicts Williams angrily stomping on her mangled racket, while the chair umpire in the background wearily asks her opponent "Can you just let her win?"

The cartoon fuelled a global debate over Williams' controversial defeat by Japan's Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open women's singles final in NY on Saturday.

On pulling down his account amidst uproar on Twitter, Knight revealed that he did it to protect his family from the abuse.

The paper's editor, Damon Johnston, said Knight's cartoon had shown how "a champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage".

US Open champion and Serena Williams conqueror Naomi Osaka is reportedly set to sign the biggest-ever deal for a female tennis player with Adidas, that could see her rival Williams as the world's highest-paid sportswoman.

The Today Show host discussed the drawing on Wednesday morning, and said attempting to censor work like Knight's cartoon was a "slippery slope".

Other US media pointed out that Osaka was portrayed as petite and feminine with blonde straight hair - in real life she has dark curly hair with blonde streaks and is taller than Williams.

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The newspaper also posted a news story on the reaction to the cartoon, arguing that it was mostly people outside of Australia who disapproved of it.

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. And what that means is you can't criticize minority groups for poor behavior.

"[It] not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams' depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like", the organisation said in a statement.

Some Twitter users, however, contested that the image was not racist.

'I know that some people find things offensive like that, but it is satire, and it is an art, and if you don't like it, you don't have to watch it or read it, ' Stefanovic said.

Following the match Williams cited sexism as the reason for her punishment, claiming that she had been treated more harshly than a man would have been.

It appears they missed a few tweets - including one from their country's own beloved basketball player, Ben Simmons, disapproving of the drawing. Lynne Adams tweeted on Tuesday, "Serena Williams is a large black woman who had a complete meltdown, what is racist about this cartoon". According to former umpire Richard Ings, many of them believe that the umpire that Ramos didn't receive proper support from the USTA.

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