Mark Knight, the Herald Sun cartoonist who drew the tennis icon Serena Williams as an angry baby having a temper tantrum during the 2018 US Open final, denies accusations of racism and sexism. 'The world has just gone crazy,' he said.
- Serena Williams was turned into a cartoon on Monday, two days after she lost the US Open final.
- Her behavior on the court, which earned her three code violations in the match's second set, was lampooned by the Australian cartoonist Mark Knight, who drew Williams as an angry baby with exaggerated features like oversize lips, a big nose, and wiry hair.
- Knight has disputed claims the cartoon is racist, saying, "The world has gone crazy."
The cartoonist who turned Serena Williams into an angry baby throwing a tantrum during Saturday's women's US Open final said his cartoon wasn't about race and accused the world of going "crazy."
Mark Knight published a cartoon in the Herald Sun, an Australian newspaper, on Monday that showed Williams with exaggerated features like oversize lips, a big nose, and wiry hair. She is seen jumping up and down on a tennis court near a broken racket and a pacifier.
The cartoon was a response to Williams' behavior Saturday, when she was slapped with a hat trick of code violations late in the match for receiving coaching, smashing her racket, and arguing with the chair umpire.
She eventually lost in straight sets to the 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, who also appeared in the cartoon. Twitter users pointed out that she was depicted as a white woman with blond hair despite being Japanese.
Here is the cartoon:
—Mark Knight (@Knightcartoons) September 10, 2018
"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," Knight said in 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."
He added that the cartoon was about poor behavior, not race, and that he thought he had been "unfairly" criticized on social media.
"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."
Of his social-media commentators, he added: "I tried to reply to these people but they just don't listen. On any given day you are a hero and on any given day you are a pariah."
Damon Johnston, the Herald Sun editor, tweeted support of Knight and the cartoon.
He said Knight's cartoon "is not racist or sexist" and "rightly mocks poor behaviour by a tennis legend."
Johnston added: "Mark has the full support of everyone at the Herald Sun."