The Australian Press Council has ruled there was no breach of its standards of practice in a cartoon of tennis star Serena Williams which attracted global condemnation after being published by Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper last September.
The depiction of Williams by cartoonist Mark Knight showed the 23-time major winner reacting angrily during her loss to Naomi Osaka in the final of the US Open. Williams is depicted with her mouth open wide, hands in fists and jumping above a broken tennis racket and a baby’s pacifier.
In a ruling published Monday, the Australian Press Council said it “acknowledged that some readers found the cartoon offensive” but said there was sufficient public interest in commenting on the behavior of a player with a globally high profile.
A controversial Australian newspaper cartoon of Serena Williams which was blasted as racist and sexist did not breach media standards, the country's press watchdog ruled https://t.co/A53OIvOBbh
— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 25, 2019
The press council said it had received complaints from people who believed the cartoon was racist and sexist.
“Specifically, concern was expressed that the cartoon depicted Ms. Williams with large lips, a broad flat nose, a wild afro-styled ponytail hairstyle different to that worn by Ms. Williams during the match and positioned in an ape-like pose,” the council said in a statement. “The council considered that the cartoon uses exaggeration and absurdity to make its point but accepts the publisher’s claim that it does not depict Ms Williams as an ape, rather showing her as ‘spitting the dummy,’ a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers.”
Okay then. https://t.co/pbn2NuPnc0
— PEDESTRIAN.TV (@pedestriandaily) February 25, 2019
Williams has won the Australian Open seven times and is a crowd favorite at Melbourne Park, where she has been playing at the season’s first tennis major since 1998. She returned for the tournament last month but lost in the quarterfinals.
Who reads newspapers nowadays anyways?
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