After Its Serena Williams Cartoon Was Called Racist, News Corp Newspaper Puts It on the Front Page

Lucas Laursen
Fortune

The Melbourne newspaper that mocked tennis player Serena Williams can’t just let her win.

The Herald Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp nws , provoked outrage Tuesday with a cartoon of Williams at the U.S. Open because it portrayed Williams in a style that evoked the 19th-century ‘sambo’ style of depicting African Americans. Today it ran the cartoon again, this time on the front cover, along with depictions of more public figures, with commentary alongside each one about why “self-appointed censors” might not want to see them.

“Regardless of race or sex, they are lampooned because of their behaviour,” the editors wrote of the public figures it caricatured.

The original cartoon depicts Williams stomping on her tennis racket, with a pacifier nearby, and the umpire asking her opponent, Naomi Osaka, “Can you just let her win?”

In the match, the umpire, Carlos Santos, issued code violations because Williams broke her racket and because her coach made a coaching gesture during play. Williams called Santos a “thief” for the coaching ruling and in response Santos issued a third code violation, handing the game to Osaka. The violations also include fines totaling $17,000.

In response many tennis commentators called his ruling sexist, noting that male players insult umpires, including Santos, on a routine basis without the punishment of losing games.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)’s Tracey Holmes rounded up several recent cases: Novak Djokovic said Ramos was “losing his mind” at the 2017 French Open and of applying “double standards” at the 2018 Wimbledon tournament; Nick Kyrgios said Ramos showed “incredible bias” in a code violation that was “fucking bullshit” in 2016, and Andy Murray accused Ramos of “stupid umpiring” and wanting to be the star of the show.

Ramos did not penalize the men for what they said.

The Herald Sun instead focused on the conflict between Williams and her opponent, writing “such was the gravity of her angry remonstration it later left Osaka, who became Japan’s first player to win a Grand Slam singles title, in tears.”

And the cartoonist, Mark Knight, said he had “no knowledge of those cartoons or that [Jim Crow] period.”

That sort of comment is just another example of “being offensive, feigning ignorance while completely ignoring the nature of the criticism given, then doubling down by whinging about being the victims,” wrote Luke Pearson, founder and CEO of IndigenousX, an Australian Aboriginal media platform.

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