JK Rowling, Masaba Gupta slam Australian cartoonist for caricature on Serena Williams

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]n Australian cartoonist received flak for portraying tennis superstar Serena Williams in bad light following her outbreak at the US Open final in New York.

Serena Williams was enraged by umpire Carlos Ramos’s warning for receiving coaching from her box. She tearfully accused him of being a “thief” and demanded an apology from him. When a second code violation for racquet abuse was handed out to her — along with a point penalty — Serena exploded. Naomi Osaka won the final 6-2, 6-4.


Mark Knight’s caricature, published in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper on Monday, shows a butch and fat-lipped Williams jumping up and down on her broken racquet at the US Open final, with the umpire asking Naomi Osaka in the background of the picture, “Can you just let her win?”

Williams was handed a code violation for coaching, a penalty point for racquet abuse and a game penalty for calling umpire Carlos Ramos a “liar and a thief” and insisting “you owe me an apology”. She was found guilty of code violations and fined US$17,000 — raising allegations that there are double standards for male and female players.

Williams was thwarted in her bid for a record-tying 24th Slam singles crown in losing to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

Knight has a reputation for controversial cartoons, and this time he was received criticism from write JK Rowling, a member of the US Congress and thousands of Twitter users.

“Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop,” wrote Rowling.

Indian fashion designer Masaba Gupta took to Instagram to condemn the cartoon. she captioned the image, “This is exactly who we all are. Tough,unapologetic & not afraid of being compared with men. Did someone tell you that aggression was reserved only for men? Or that women are meant to be more ‘elegant’ or ‘delicate’ about their displeasure? This is not misrepresentation,it is power.

“Ofcourse, I am biased and why shouldn’t I be for someone who has had to endure so much to get here? First,I stand for Naomi Osaka who beat her childhood icon at the US open, at the age of 20. And then, I stand for the racket busting, angry-young woman in the tutu who you are purely intimidated by, because she could crush your skull like that racket lying beneath her. This is not an angry late-night rant, this is exactly how the elegant, polished & powerful women of this day & age feel,” read her post further.

While several questioned the cartoonist on his portrayal of a woman Tennis player, Mark Knight replied to Julie DiCaro saying, “Don’t bring gender into it when it’s all about behaviour.”


Twitterati also spoke up about the racist potrayal of the Tennis players. While Serena is shown as a butch and fat-lipped, some talked about portraying Naomi Osaka as a whiter player in the caricature.

There were also some to defend Knight’s concept of the portrayal of one’s behaviour on the court and not race or gender.

(With inputs from Agencies)