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Who Magazine confuses famous women of colour, again

Who Magazine has bungled a feature about women who are due to turn 40 in 2020, by publishing a photo of 15-year-old Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff instead of seven-time grand slam singles winner Venus Williams.

It is the second time the magazine has been in the spotlight for confusing women of colour this year, after an interview with supermodel Adut Akech was accompanied by a photo of a different model, Flavia Lazarus.

 

Williams (left) and Gauff (right)

At the time, Akech said she felt like her entire race had been disrespected.

“It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrow-minded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same. I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model,” she wrote on Instagram.

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I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me.  For those who are not aware, last week @whomagazine (Australia) published a feature article about me. In the interview I spoke about how people view refugees and peoples attitude to colour in general. With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl. This has upset me, has made me angry, it has made me feel very disrespected and to me is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances. Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too and it is why I feel it is important that I address this issue. Whoever did this clearly the thought that was me in that picture and that’s not okay. This  is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview. By this happening I feel like it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about. It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same. I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model. My aim for this post is not to bash Who Magazine -they have apologised to me directly – but I feel like I need to express publicly how I feel. This has deeply affected me and we need to start an important conversation that needs to happen. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop. I’ve been called by the name of another models who happens to be of the same Ethnicity, I find it very ignorant, rude and disrespectful towards both of us simply because we know that this doesn’t happen with white models. I want this to be somewhat of a wake up call to people within the industry it’s not OK and you need to do better. Big publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them especially when its real stories and interviews and not just some made up rumors. To those who work at shows and shoots it’s important that you don’t mix up models names. Australia you’ve a lot of work to do and you’ve got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry

A post shared by Adut Akech Bior (@adutakech) on

“I want this to be somewhat of a wake-up call to people within the industry it’s not OK and you need to do better. Big publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them especially when its real stories and interviews and not just some made up rumours. To those who work at shows and shoots it’s important that you don’t mix up models names. Australia you’ve a lot of work to do and you’ve got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry,” she continued.

The mistake featuring Gauff instead of Williams occurred in the 6 January, 2020 edition, out now.

The image of Gauff in Who Magazine (Click to enlarge)

Williams will turn 40 on 17 June, while Gauff will turn 16 on 13 March.

The error is in the latest edition of Who Magazine

A Pacific Magazines spokesperson apologised for the error.

“Who apologises for the incorrect image that appeared in this week’s magazine,” the spokesperson told Mumbrella.

“We sincerely apologise to Venus Williams, Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff and anyone else affected by this mistake.”

Venus Williams’ sister, Serena, has also been the centre of a racist storm in the Australian media.

In September last year, Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight published a cartoon of Serena throwing a tantrum on the tennis court.

Last year’s ‘racist’ Serena Williams cartoon in the Herald Sun

The cartoon referenced an incident at the US Open women’s final, in which Williams clashed with the umpire, Carlos Ramos, calling him a thief and a liar, and accusing him of sexism, when he issued her with code violations.

Knight’s cartoon was 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”. It was also said to draw on a long and damaging history of racist caricature.

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

Australia’s press watchdog, the Australian Press Council (APC) ultimately cleared the cartoon’s publisher, News Corp, of any wrongdoing.

The APC accepted the News Corp’s claim it did not depict Williams as an ape, but rather showed her as ‘spitting the dummy’ – “a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers”.

“Nonetheless, the Council acknowledges that some readers found the cartoon offensive,” it said in its ruling. “However, the Council also accepts that there was a sufficient public interest in commenting on behaviour and sportsmanship during a significant dispute between a tennis player with a globally high profile and an umpire at the US Open final.”

The publisher of Who Magazine, Pacific Magazines, is currently stalled in its ambitions to come together with Bauer Media, with the competition watchdog, the ACCC, expressing concerns that the deal would compromise content quality.

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