MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (SEPTEMBER 12, 2018) (REUTERS) – An Australian newspaper defied international criticism and allegations of racism on Wednesday (September 12) when it reprinted a controversial cartoon on its front page depicting U.S. tennis star Serena Williams having a temper tantrum at the U.S. Open.
The Herald Sun, owned by News Corp, first published the caricature of Williams, with exaggerated lips and tongue and curly hair rising from the top of her head as she stomped on her tennis racket on Monday (September 10).
The image triggered widespread allegations of racism against illustrator Mark Knight and drew historical comparisons to Jim Crow, a phrase referring to racial segregation laws in the southern U.S., the origins of which have often been attributed to song-and-dance caricatures of African Americans.
Knight and The Herald Sun deny the cartoon is racist and, despite the outrage, the paper reprinted the cartoon on Wednesday, alongside an unflattering caricatures of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as it portrayed the controversy as an effort to curtail free speech.
The cartoon fuelled a global debate over Williams’ controversial defeat by Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open women’s singles final in New York on Saturday (September 8).