News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman has been forced to defend Melbourne’s Herald Sun after the newspaper ran a cartoon in yesterday’s edition that parodied Serena Williams’ “tantrum” during the US Open women’s singles final and has since drawn global condemnation for being “racist” and “sexist”.
The offending cartoon, by Mark Knight, depicts Williams smashing her racquet and stomping on it during Saturday’s now infamous match. The American was given three code violations during a heated on-court exchange with chair umpire Carlos Ramos and was later fined $US17,000 ($A24,000) by match officials.
Her opponent, Japanese player and winner of the match, Naomi Osaka, is strangely depicted in Knight’s cartoon as blonde, and is seen talking to Ramos who asks: “Can you just let her win?”
None other than author J.K. Rowling led a global chorus of criticism of Knight’s illustration, tweeting: “Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop.”
However, News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller this morning tweeted in defence of the caricature, saying: “Criticism of Mark Knight’s Serena Williams cartoon shows the world has gone too PC & misunderstands the role of news media cartoons and satire. Poor behaviour in any sport needs to be called out.”
Many others called out the illustration for being unflattering and pointed out the race and gender issues associated with the image.
British journalist Charles Thomson tweeted: “In 100 years’ time, this cartoon will be viewed no differently than old images of Jim Crow, or the newspaper cartoons drawn of Jack Johnson. Mark Knight has just drawn his way into the history books.”
This morning, Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston also defended the cartoon, saying: “A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that. It had nothing to do with gender or race.”
However, many on twitter agreed that the image was derogatory and wouldn’t have been drawn if it were a male player who’d done something similar.
Knight has defended the image saying it had nothing to do with race or gender but was all about bad behaviour. He later tweeted that he’d poked similar fun at male tennis players including, very recently, Australia’s Nik Kyrgios.
In an interview in today’s Herald Sun, the cartoonist said: “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.
“It’s been picked up by social media in the US and my phone has just melted down. The world has just gone crazy.
“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.
“The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race,” Knight said.
And Knight has even won himself some supporters. This morning broadcaster Neil Mitchell defended the cartoon on his 3AW radio program.
“This shows an awful misunderstanding of Mark Knight and this country,” Mitchell said.
“I looked at that cartoon and it didn’t even cross my mind it was about race. It was a sports bully, a petulant child throwing a tantrum about losing.”
Others, too, tweeted their support of Knight’s work:
Verizon Media’s talent program has come to an end for the third year, closing with a hybrid pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). The Verizon Media Academy class of 2021, made up of 44 emerging leaders from across Australia and New Zealand media, advertising and marketing industry, were given just one hour to […]
Social purpose organisation UnLtd’s Big Games competition has raised a combined $85,000 for children and young people at risk. Running over five weeks, the competition involved 32 teams from across the advertising, marketing and media industries battling it out virtually for a chance to qualify for the Rocket League final. The tournament culminated in a […]
Stan has announced that the Stan Original Film Transfusion commenced filming in Sydney earlier this week and will premiere on Stan in 2022. Transfusion is a taut, muscular thriller starring Sam Worthington (Avatar) as Ryan Logan, a former Special Forces operative, who is battling to cope with life after the loss of his wife and is thrust […]
According to a decade of data collected by iStock, Australian brands turned to imagery depicting outdated gender stereotypes during the pandemic. Tracking the keyword ‘women’, iStock by Getty Images found that in 2020, ANZ brands and businesses reverted to gender stereotypes. Images of mothers home-schooling were used at almost twice the rate of images of […]
Schwartz Media is congratulating Maddison Connaughton on her three years as editor of The Saturday Paper. Connaughton has decided to finish up her editorship this month. “It’s been an honour to edit the paper,” Connaughton said. “The Saturday Paper is one of the brightest voices in Australian media and I have been happy to see […]
Research from EdBbirdie using Spotify data has identified the most popular songs to study to. After analysing thousands of studying and homework playlists on Spotify, American singer Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ came out as top song to study to. It featured on 48 study playlists, while other top songs included ‘Ophelia’ by The Lumineers, ‘Falling’ […]
Dayna Stewart is the Business Director – Digital Marketing, Media & Creative Services at The Nudge Group. Here, she discusses the challenges that come with building a successful marketing team when working remotely. Before COVID-19 changed the way businesses work, most marketing teams spent their days together in a meeting room collaborating on the next […]
The line-up for the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival has been announced as the legendary event returns live in Las Vegas in September. This year, the epic two-day lineup for the iHeartRadio Music Festival main stage will feature performances by Billie Eilish, Cheap Trick, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Florida Georgia Line, Journey, Khalid, Lil Baby, Maroon 5, Nelly, […]
Shop! ANZ is calling on shopper and retail marketing professionals from all retail related disciplines to participate in the first ANZ Shopper and Retail Marketing Industry Survey in four years. This important research provides a guide of where the retail marketing industry in Australia and New Zealand has come from and what is anticipated to […]