Serena Williams is one of the most famous and recognizable athletes in the world, with no shortage of images of her that the media can use to complement stories profiling her. The tennis great is now taking one of those publications to task, after it used a photo not of Williams, but of her older sister, fellow tennis star Venus Williams. CNN reports that the publication that erred is none other than the New York Times, which picked up a picture of Venus to accompany a story on how Serena has raised $111 million for her venture fund, "Serena Ventures."
CBS News notes that the error took place in the Wednesday print edition of the story; the online version correctly uses a photo of Serena Williams. Williams addressed the mistake in a tweet Wednesday, showing a pic of the print version featuring her sister's face, not her own. "No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it's not enough," she wrote. "This is why I raised $111M for @serenaventures. To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked."
Williams then called out the Gray Lady: "You can do better, @nytimes." The newspaper replied to Williams, first stating the obvious: "This was our mistake." It then elaborated, perhaps just as obviously, that the mistake "was due to an error when selecting photos for the print edition." It also promised a correction in Thursday's paper. CNN notes there are "countless" instances of the media confusing Black celebrities, including Fox News using a photo of singer Patti LaBelle in a tribute to Aretha Franklin shortly after the latter died in the summer of 2018. (Read more Serena Williams stories.)