Cartoonist Receives Criticism For Racist Serena Williams Depiction

Australian cartoonist Mark Knight received heavy criticism Monday morning for a cartoon interpretation of Serena Williams at the U.S. Open finals.

The Herald Sun’s editorial cartoonist depicted Williams’ incident with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her match against Naomi Osaka.

Twitter and high-profiled deemed his “Jim Crow-era” picture has both highly racist and sexist:

Jemele Hill on Twitter

About as subtle as Fran Drescher’s voice https://t.co/VM23b4XnlI

J.K. Rowling on Twitter

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. https://t.co/YOxVMuTXEC

David Dennis Jr. on Twitter

I’m not gonna hold you. This is wild racist. https://t.co/eWasWSyDed

ChuckModi on Twitter

Holy crap. This Serena cartoon is racist AF & reminiscent Jack Johnson cartoons in 1910. Mark Knight should be fired. But any Herald Sun editors that would allow this, should fire themselves first. https://t.co/Usgd7pWH8b

In addition to Williams caricature, social media also took notice of Osaka’s image, claiming the cartoonist “whitewashed” her features.

Ian Rose on Twitter

@Knightcartoons @theheraldsun @usopen You manage to be racist on several different levels here, not only in how you depict Serena, but also in erasing Naomi into a skinny blonde. Impressively shitty work.

Knight attempted to defend himself by posting a previous cartoon highlighting male players “behaving badly.”

Mark Knight on Twitter

@JulieDiCaro @theheraldsun @usopen 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. Don’t bring gender into it when it’s all about behaviour. I’ll accept your apology in writing

Not only does this cartoon draw too close to the anti-black imageries within the Jim Crow era and minstrels, but caricatures of the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype that is unnecessary. 


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