Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Tennis

Serena Williams cartoon not racist, Australian media watchdog rules

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A Herald Sun cartoon that depicted Serena Williams jumping up and “spitting the dummy” after losing a match to Naomi Osaka isn’t racist, the Press Council has found.

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The News Corp cartoon came under global condemnation in September recently for publishing what some saw as being a racist, sexist cartoon.

But in the adjudication published inside tabloid on Monday, the Australian Press Council accepted the Herald Sun’s argument that the cartoon what food was in respond to Williams’ “outburst” in the game along at the US Open final, and rejected suggestions how the tennis champion is in an ape-like pose.

“[The Herald Sun] said hello was depicting as soon as when, in a very highly animated tantrum, Ms Williams smashed a racquet and loudly abused the chair umpire, calling him a thief, a liar and threatening that he could not umpire her matches again,” the council said.

“It said hello desired to capture the on-court tantrum of Ms Williams using satire, caricature, exaggeration and humour, plus the cartoon meant to depict her behaviour as childish by showing her spitting a pacifier out while she jumps top to bottom.”

The Murdoch press has strongly defended Knight and his cartoon. The chief chairman of News Corp Australia, Michael Miller, said criticism of Knight “shows everybody gone too PC”.

The editor from the Herald Sun, Damon Johnston, states it had not make use of race or gender.

“A champion tennis player enjoyed a mega-tantrum over the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that,” Johnston said during the past year. “It had nothing to apply gender or race.”

But, locally and internationally, many disagreed. Among the many individuals criticise the cartoon last year was Bernice King, the primary executive of your King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, who said the Herald Sun’s stance was “without consideration for the painful historical context of imagery and how it could possibly support biases and racism today”.

Author JK Rowling said the Knight drawing had reduced “one of the most useful sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes”.

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Complainants for the council had said the depiction would have been a sexist and racist stereotype of African-Americans, featuring a large lips, broad flat nose and wild afro-styled ponytail hairstyle.

They stated it contrasted with Osaka, a Japanese-Haitian, who was depicted as the white woman with blonde hair and no exaggerated features.

The media watchdog said cartoonists used exaggeration and absurdity to have a point and accepted the paper’s say that it didn’t depict Williams as being an ape however rather as spitting the dummy, “a non-racist caricature familiar to numerous Australian readers”.

The Press Council did acknowledge that some readers found the cartoon offensive but ultimately said its standards of not causing offence or prejudice were not breached.

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