Aussie cartoonist defends “racist”, “sexist” drawing of Serena Williams

Mark Knight said he just drew her throwing a tantrum on the day

An Australian cartoonist has broken his silence over a controversial depiction of Serena Williams that has sparked outrage around the world.

Mark Knight of Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper posted his illustration on Twitter on Monday morning, immediately sparking a firestorm of criticism.

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 labelled the cartoon “racist” and “sexist”, accusing Knight of using derogatory imagery of African American people.

But Knight says it 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 on Tuesday.

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

“The world has just gone crazy.”

Knight said his cartoon was simply about Serena’s poor behaviour.

“Three days before I had drawn a cartoon about Nick Kyrgios being led off by the ears, like you used to do with your children,” he said.

“The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race.”