The Australian newspaper that initially published a cartoon that portrayed tennis superstar Serena Williams as an entitled spoiled brat has doubled down on its defense of the cartoonist, Mark Knight.
The Herald Sun re-printed Knight's cartoon on the front page of Wednesday's edition with the headline “Welcome to PC World”.
A subheading reads: “If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed."
The cartoon depicts Serena, 36, as a big baby throwing a tantrum on the court during her loss to Japan's Naomi Osaka, 20, at the U.S. Open women's singles championship on Saturday. Osaka, who is portrayed with straight blonde hair, listens intently as chair umpire Carlos Ramos asks "Can you just let her win?"
At first glance the cartoon seems like harmless satire. Every major newspaper in the United States has published editorial cartoons with much worse content.
But it's easy to see how Knight's depiction of Serena with big lips and powerful manly arms can trigger ultra sensitive liberals.
Ramos cited Serena for three violations: receiving coaching, breaking her racket, and calling Ramos a "thief."
The latter 2 violations cost Serena a point and a game, giving Osaka a 5-3 lead in the second set.
The Herald Sun also printed previously published caricatures of Australian politicians and world leaders with exaggerated facial features.
An op-ed by The Herald Sun's publisher Michael Miller defended Knight's cartoon, and blamed political correctness run amok.
“Criticism of Mark Knight’s Serena Williams cartoon shows the world has gone too PC & misunderstands the role of news media cartoons and satire,” he wrote. “Poor behaviour in any sport needs to be called out."
In an op-ed for the New York Times on Monday, tennis legend Martina Navratilova also called out Serena for bad behavior on the court.
Martina said Serena was partly right for condemning a sexist double standard in women's tennis, but Serena was wrong to apply a standard of, "If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too."
"We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with. In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court," Martina wrote.
In related news, umpires are considering boycotting all of Serena's future matches.
The Times of London quoted an anonymous source who said umpires felt they were not being supported by the USTA, which rushed to defend Serena after the match.
“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” Richard Ings, a retired umpire, told ESPN on Tuesday.
So far, Serena has not commented on the cartoon controversy.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images