News’ Herald Sun certainly isn’t backing down from its controversial Serena Williams’ cartoon, today dedicating its front cover to lambast political correctness that the paper’s editors clearly believe will make “life very dull indeed”.
A cartoon in the paper on Monday drew global headlines and widespread criticism and was decried as “racist” and “sexist” after it parodied Serena Williams’ “tantrum” during the US Open singles final on Saturday.
Today’s front cover comes with the headline “Welcome to PC world” and features a slew of Mark Knight’s previous cartoons – who drew the offending Williams caricature – to highlight the artist’s uses of parody to deal with newsworthy issues.
The cover shows, among others, Scott Morrison as Fozzie Bear, Tony Abbott as Hannibal Lecter, Pauline Hanson as a cane toad, Barnaby Joyce as an angry ram and Victorian premier Daniel Anderson with his derriere on full display.
Knight and his employer News have continued to defend the cartoon by saying it had nothing to do with gender or race and was merely a depiction of Williams’ behaviour.
“The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race,” Knight said who later revealed he’d received death threats following the publication of his illustration on Monday.
Yesterday, News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller chimed into the debate, lending his support to the cartoon via a tweet that said: “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.”
While the cartoon has been widely called out as racist in the US, it appears to be getting a more sympathetic ear in Australia.
Yesterday, 3AW presenter Neil Mitchell defended the work on his radio program. “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,” he said.
This morning, Today host Georgie Gardner said: “Look, you know, the whole definition of satire is to exaggerate and to ridicule and to send up. Which is precisely what that cartoon does. It exaggerates her features in the way that – remember the cartoons we used to see of John Howard with the eyebrows, Tony Abbott’s ears. What I’m interested to know is have we heard from Serena Williams herself as to whether she’s offended by it?”
However, Waleed Aly was less kind, describing the cartoon on Ten’s The Project last night as generic stereotyping of black people.
“That face is not a face of Serena Williams, that’s not picking character or features from Serena Williams’ face and heightening them,’ Aly said.
“That is the way you draw a random black face, a random African-American face. So at that point, what the critics say, you are no longer caricaturing Serena, you’re caricaturing (a group) of people,” he said.