Herald Sun doubles down over 'racist' cartoon outrage

The Australian newspaper at the centre of the Serena Williams cartoon controversy has produced an extraordinary front page response to critics.

The Herald Sun responded to critics of their cartoonist’s depiction of Serena by doubling down on Wednesday.

After coming out in support of Mark Knight on Tuesday, they printed a defiant cover with the headline “Welcome to PC World”.

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Wednesday’s front cover in response to the Serena Williams firestorm. Image: Getty/Herald Sun

Wednesday’s cover featured several of Knight’s other cartoons, alongside reasons why they might also have been considered offensive.

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“If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed,” the subhead reads.

The cover features cartoons of former prime minister Tony Abbott depicted as Hannibal Lecter, a topless Kim Jong-un, and PM Scott Morrison as a muppet.

Understandably, it drew some mixed responses.

Knight sparked an international uproar on Monday when he posted his cartoon on Twitter.

The cartoon depicts Serena’s confrontation with umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open final, showing the tennis superstar destroying her racquet with a child’s dummy lying on the ground next to her.

Many were quick to slam Knight’s cartoon as ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’, but the Aussie defended himself by saying he was simply illustrating Serena’s tantrum.

‘The world has gone crazy’

Earlier on Tuesday Knight said his cartoon had nothing to do with race or gender.

“I drew this cartoon Sunday night after seeing the US Open final, and seeing the world’s best tennis player have a tantrum and thought that was interesting,” he told the Herald Sun.

“It’s been picked up by social media in the US and my phone has just melted down.

“The world has just gone crazy.”

Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston also defended the cartoon.

“A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that,” Johnston said.

“It had nothing to do with gender or race.”

‘Repugnant on many levels’

However the National Association of Black Journalists condemned the cartoon for it’s ‘unnecessarily sambo-like’ depiction – a racist term for an African American.

“The racist cartoon of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka by Mark Knight of the Herald Sun is repugnant on many levels,” the NABJ said.

“The Sept. 10 cartoon not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams’ depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like.

The art of editorial cartooning is a visual dialogue on the issues of the day, yet this cartoon grossly inaccurately depicts two women of colour at the US Open, one of the grandest stages of professional sports.”