An Australian newspaper has come under fire for an editorial cartoon — which many are calling “racist” and “sexist” — depicting Serena Williams as an angry baby throwing a tantrum on a tennis court and smashing her racket.
The cartoon, drawn by Mark Knight, was published in Monday’s The Herald Sun, in the wake of the controversy surrounding the U.S. Open women’s final on Saturday.
The cartoon shows the 23-time Grand Slam winner with exaggerated facial features, wearing a tutu while jumping on a broken tennis racket. A pacifier is pictured on the tennis court. The cartoon was quickly condemned on social media.
“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,” J.K. Rowling, the author of the famous Harry Potter series, tweeted.
Williams lost to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who is also depicted in the cartoon as a blond, white woman.
“Can you just let her win?” the chair umpire is depicted as asking Osaka.
On Sunday, Williams was fined $17,000 for three code violations during her loss to Osaka. The tournament referee’s office docked Williams $10,000 for “verbal abuse” of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for breaking her racket.
Williams called the umpire a “thief” after being docked a point for smashing her racket. Williams also received a warning for getting coaching during the match. She disputed the ruling saying cheating “is the one thing I’ve never done, ever.”
Knight’s tweet of his cartoon has been liked nearly 4,000 times, while approximately 4,200 people have commented on it.
“Where was this cartoon for all the men who have broken their rackets over the years?” Julie DiCaro commented.
Knight responded with cartoon he said he drew of Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios who was “behaving badly” at the U.S. Open.
Well Julie here’s a cartoon I drew a few days before when Australian male tennis player Kyrgios at the US Open was behaving badly,” Knight wrote. “Don’t bring gender into it when it’s all about behaviour. I’ll accept your apology in writing.”
Here’s a look at some of the reaction: