Paper defends Serena Williams cartoon

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The Australian newspaper that found itself at the center of global controversy after publishing a racist and sexist caricature of Serena Williams has doubled down on its support for the cartoonist.

The Melbourne newspaper that mocked tennis player Serena Williams can't just let her win.

The cartoon comes a day after Williams was fined $17,000 for three violations she committed at the U.S. Open.

And the cartoonist, Mark Knight, said he had "no knowledge of those cartoons or that [Jim Crow] period".

Knight has defended the cartoon in a statement given to Herald Sun's website.

Knight's caricature showed a butch and fat-lipped Williams jumping up and down on her broken racquet, having spat out a dummy.

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

"Mark has the full support of everyone".

"What I'm interested to know is have we heard from Serena Williams herself as to whether she's offended by it?"

Yesterday, the Herald Sun used its entire front cover to try and defend the cartoon, suggesting those who objected to it were PC and are all out to make our lives "very tiresome indeed".

"I drew her as an African-American woman, she's powerfully built, she wears these outrageous costumes when she plays tennis - she's interesting to draw".

In early August, for a cartoon about train-station safety in the Australian state of Victoria, Knight also faced ire for how he drew faceless black figures fighting in the background. "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".

Many were quick to slam Knight's cartoon as "racist" and "sexist", and the Aussie has now revealed the shocking fallout from his controversial drawing. Maybe there's a different understanding of cartooning in Australia to America ...

"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]". The Williams in Knight's cartoon is ostensibly supposed to be a caricature of her, when in actuality it's a lazy caricature of over-the-top black features.

Bernice King, the chief executive of the King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, said the newspaper's stance was "unfortunate".

The National Association of Black Journalists said the cartoon was "repugnant on many levels".

"Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honour our sport and to respect our opponents?"

Meanwhile, former women's world number one player Billie Jean King said the decision to punish Williams is an example of the double standards at play in tennis.

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