An Australian newspaper defiantly republished a controversial cartoon of tennis star Serena Williams on its front-page Wednesday, slapping aside ‘politically correct’ accusations that the drawing was racist and sexist.
Melbourne’s Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight’s caricature of Williams throwing a tantrum at the US Open was originally printed on Monday, attracting widespread condemnation from across the world.
Under the front-page headline ‘WELCOME TO PC WORLD’, the newspaper wrote Wednesday that ‘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 cover included caricatures of other Australian and foreign political leaders drawn by Knight.
The veteran cartoonist added Wednesday he had suspended his Twitter account to protect his family and friends.
Prior to disabling his account, his tweet of the cartoon had attracted more than 22,000 comments, most of them critical.
Knight labelled the outcry against his cartoon as a sign that the ‘world has just gone crazy’.
‘I drew this cartoon Sunday night after seeing the US Open final, and seeing the world’s best tennis player have a tantrum and thought that was interesting,’ he said in quotes published on the News Corp Australia paper’s website Wednesday.
‘The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race.’
The caricature has also sparked renewed debate in Australia about racist and sexist discourse in the highly multicultural nation.