Artist Who Drew Serena Cartoon: 'World's Gone Crazy'

Mark Knight says controversial drawing 'had nothing to do with race'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2018 4:34 AM CDT
Updated Sep 11, 2018 6:01 AM CDT
Artist Defends 'Racist' Serena Williams Cartoon
Serena Williams talks with referee Brian Earley during the women's final of the US Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Saturday in New York.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Australian cartoonist widely condemned for drawing what critics say is a racist caricature of Serena Williams says the world has "gone crazy." Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight told an interviewer Monday that his cartoon was an accurate representation of Williams' meltdown during her US Open loss to Naomi Osaka on Saturday and had nothing to do with race, USA Today reports. "People said I'm a racist because I drew Serena as an African-American woman," Knight told 3AW. "I drew her as this powerful figure, which she is, she's strongly built. They say I'm racist because I drew Naomi Osaka in the background with blond hair. Well, she does have her hair dyed blond."

Critics including JK Rowling accused Knight of using "racist and sexist tropes" reminiscent of 19th-century caricatures of black people. He said he was "amazed" at the "unfair" reaction on social media. "I tried to reply to these people but they just don't listen," said Knight, who was defended by Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston and fellow cartoonists. "On any given day you are a hero and on any given day you are a pariah. And you just have to live with it." The Guardian notes that in its defense of Knight, the Herald Sun printed a selection of his other recent cartoons—but didn't include one of African teens that sparked accusations of racism less than a month ago. (More Serena Williams stories.)

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