News Corp boss defends controversial Serena Williams cartoon, citing ‘political correctness’

News Corp’s cartoon of an angry Serena Williams on court at the US Open final has thus far drawn the ire of celebrities including author JK Rowling and Basketballer Ben Simmons, as well as international media outlets, but the local boss of the organisation has hit out, claiming the backlash once again proves political correctness has gone too far.

The newspaper watchdog, the Australian Press Council (APC), has confirmed to Mumbrella “at least one complaint” had been received about the controversial cartoon. 

The cartoon appeared in yesterday’s Herald Sun and depicted an enraged Williams jumping on her broken tennis racket, with a spat-out dummy nearby. The umpire – who Williams lambasted during the event, labelling his decisions ‘sexist’  – is depicted asking opponent Naomi Osaka if she will just relent and allow Williams to win the match.

Mark Knight’s drawing has been criticised for drawing on racist and sexist tropes, reducing 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams to an angry child, and making Osaka a “faceless prop”.

News Corp’s local executive chairman, Michael Miller, however, said the “world has gone too PC [politically correct]”.

Posting to various social media feeds, he said: “Criticism of Mark Knight’s Serena Williams cartoon shows the world has gone too PC & misunderstands the role of news media cartoons and satire. Poor behaviour in any sport needs to be called out.”

Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston said criticism of Williams, and thus the cartoon itself, had nothing to do with gender or race.

“A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that,” he said.

The cartoonist, Knight, said the world had gone crazy.

“I tried to reply to these people [critics on social media] but they just don’t listen,” he told the News Corp press.

“On any given day you are a hero and on any given day you are a pariah. And you just have to live with it.”


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