Following Serena Williams’ behavior on the tennis court yesterday, the star has found herself embroiled in yet another controversy, except this time, it’s not of her own doing. According to JK Rowling, Kathy Griffin, and Cynthia Erivo, the cartoon drawn of Serena throwing a temper tantrum on the court is “racist and sexist.”
On the 10th of September, Monday, Mark Knight’s cartoon in the Australian newspaper, The Herald Sun, was published, depicting a 36-year-old tennis star screaming as an angry baby, while jumping on her racquet, along with a soother off to the right-hand side.
This comes just one day after Serena faced off against a $17,000 fine for three code violations during her US match against Naomi Osaka, who ended up beating her.
During the aforementioned game, Serena smashed her tennis racquet and argued with the presiding umpire, whom she called a thief. On Twitter, some people accused Mark of drawing the “angry black woman” stereotype.
Rowling wrote on her account that Mark “reduc(ed) one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes.” The 31-year-old actress said it was “reprehensible and racist.” Kathy Griffin, perhaps most famous for her photo with Donald Trump’s decapitated head, said to Mr. Knight on Twitter that he was a “racist piece of s**t.”
— Mark Knight (@Knightcartoons) September 10, 2018
Knight didn’t apologize for his cartoon, which he argued was neither racist or sexist, as he has done similar cartoons of men in the past, including Mr. Nick Kyrgios.
As tennis fans know, this incident is quite similar to John McEnroe’s controversy last year. In 2017, during an interview with NPR, John praised Serena as the “greatest female tennis player of all time,” and the interviewer asked him why he said “female” instead of just the “greatest tennis player of all time.”
John said to the interviewer, which was common knowledge to most tennis professionals, that if Serena were up against the highest ranking male tennis players, she wouldn’t be the greatest, due to the advantageous physical structure of a man’s body for the sport.