Under fire for Serena cartoon

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

Mark Knight, a cartoonist for The Herald Sun in Australia, said in an interview that his portrayal of Williams stomping on her racket as the chair umpire asked Naomi Osaka to let Williams win was an accurate representation of their final match. He insists that his cartoon wasn't about race, but about Williams' behavior during her confrontation with umpire Carlos Ramos during the U.S. Open final.

The cartoon exploded throughout the media and online.

In its Wednesday edition, the Herald Sun claims it is now a free speech issue.

It appears they missed a few tweets - including one from their country's own beloved basketball player, Ben Simmons, disapproving of the drawing.

Mark Knight posted the cartoon he drew about Serena Williams on his Twitter account on Monday.

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Such elements were often used in "Sambo" imagery, according to Dr Joe Street, a senior lecturer in American History at Northumbria University.

"Sambo", a derogatory term for a black person, is the name of a folkloric figure usually depicted with an exaggerated mouth and an ape-like stance.

Despite evidence to the contrary, a mob of Twitter users would go after Knight declaring him and his cartoon racist. "This classic Jim Crow era sexist/racist image does nothing but display the complete disrespect of the superstar and perpetuate the stereotype of an "angry black woman" I am appalled", wrote Jevin Hodge, the vice-chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. Also problematic in the cartoon was the depiction of Osaka as being a blonde and, apparently, white woman. "Mark Knight's a man of the greatest character-proud he's in our paper", said Herald Sun Sunday Editor Nick Papps.

In addition, Osaka has inked a deal with Nissan that will make the multicultural athlete - the daughter of a Haitian-born father and Japanese mother, raised mainly in the United States - a "brand ambassador" for the Japanese auto maker.

"Mr. Ramos" decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were reaffirmed by the U.S. Open's decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences'.

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While losing Saturday's final to Japan's Naomi Osaka, Williams smashed her racket and called the umpire a "thief" and "liar".

Osaka is 20 years old and also won the Indian Wells event in March this year, making her one of the top draws in the women's game.

Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston defended Knight and the cartoon saying the cartoon "had nothing to do with gender or race".

The cover included caricatures of other Australian and foreign political leaders drawn by Knight.

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