Sunday, January 20, 2019

'They wished I was dead': Illustrator who was slammed for his "racist" cartoon of Serena Williams was in fear for his life during the backlash

It is a cartoon, not a photo and, as such, it is a reasonable caricature.  Plenty of caricatures are more extreme

The Australian cartoonist who was on the receiving end of worldwide condemnation for his racist depiction of tennis star Serena Williams said he received death threats after the drawing was published.

Cartoonist Mark Knight was called a 'white supremacist' and 'c**ksucker of the day' after his cartoon featuring Serena Williams at the US Open was published in the Herald Sun newspaper in September.

Knight defended himself by saying he simply made the drawing after he witnessed 'the world's greatest tennis player spit the dummy'.

The artist initially thought the mess would blow over, but for weeks both he and his family were brutally terrorised.

'They traced my wife and children through Facebook. Our son's a pilot. There were messages that said, "I hope your son's plane crashes into your house and kills you all",' Knight told The Australian.

'They wished I was dead, there were threats, aggressive horrible stuff against the kids, like 'We hope someone gets you, gets your family'. I was a 'racist a**hole'. I work in the media, I know what to expect, but my family doesn't and it hit them really hard.'

The abuse was so bad, Knight had to organise for security guards to stand around his property for a week.

The cartoon was in the publication's Monday paper for more than 12 hours without anyone taking notice, but Knight then chose to post it to Twitter. Once the cartoon was in front of a global audience, it wasn't long until the artist began to be attacked.

The cartoon depicts Williams, 36, as a baby having a tantrum on the court.

In the illustration, Williams is shown with an enlarged lips and nose, and her cheekbones have been emphasised. A dummy lies next to her feet and she is shown jumping in the air, her fists clenched in frustration like a petulant child.

In the background is Naomi Osaka, the 20-year-old Haitian-Japanese athlete who won the match. She is depicted as slender, white and blonde, looking up hopefully towards umpire Carlos Ramos.

The cartoon was slammed by critics around the world who compared the image to a Jim Crow-era representation of black women. 

Author J.K. Rowling and rapper Nicki Minaj were among those who criticised Knight, while America's National Association of Black Journalists said the illustration was 'unnecessarily sambo-like'.

The cartoon was compared to the 'slavery era' and many noted how Williams resembled a gorilla.

'In 100 years time this cartoon will be viewed no differently than old images of Jim Crow, or the newspaper cartoons drawn of Jack Johnson. Mark Knight has just drawn his way into the history books,' said one critic.



Anonymous said...

The cartoon is unreasonably extreme !

Bird of Paradise said...

Sure is better then the liberal junk we get from Tom Toles,David Horsie,Arron McGruder and Gary Trudeau

Anonymous said...

Osaka is not depicted as 'white'
She is depicted as grey. This is noticeable in comparison with the Chair Umpire.