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Australian Newspaper Republishes Controversial Cartoon of Serena Williams


A newspaper stand displays the Herald Sun newspaper, featuring a controversial cartoon of Serena Williams, in Melbourne, Sept. 12, 2018.

An Australian newspaper republished a controversial cartoon of American tennis great Serena Williams, defying widespread accusations it is racist.

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?"

Serena Williams of the United States yells at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the women's final against Naomi Osaka of Japan at the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Sept. 8, 2018. (D. Parhizkaran/USA Today)
Serena Williams of the United States yells at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the women's final against Naomi Osaka of Japan at the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Sept. 8, 2018. (D. Parhizkaran/USA Today)

The cartoon lampoons Williams's heated dispute with umpire Carlos Ramos during her loss in last week's U.S. Open women's final match to rising star Naomi Osaka. Ramos warned and penalized Williams for three rule violations, including smashing her racket on the court.

The cartoon attracted anger over Knight's depiction of Williams as a large woman with oversized lips, calling it a stereotypical portrayal of black women.

The Herald Sun republished the cartoon, along with caricatures of other famous people, on the front page of its Wednesday edition, under the headline "Welcome to the PC World."

"If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed," the paper said in an editorial.

Knight said the cartoon was about Williams's "poor behavior on the day, not about race." But he was also criticized over his depiction of Osaka, the child of a Japanese mother and Haitian father, as a slender blond woman.

Serena Williams hugs Naomi Osaka, of Japan, after Osaka defeated Williams in the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.
Serena Williams hugs Naomi Osaka, of Japan, after Osaka defeated Williams in the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.

Knight posted the cartoon on his Twitter account Monday, but has since disabled it after attracting tens of thousands of comments, most of them critical.

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