An Australian cartoonist, who was branded ‘racist’ over his depiction of tennis player Serena Williams, has hit back at critics saying the ‘world’s gone crazy’.
Mark Knight’s cartoon – depicting Williams’ infamous outburst at the US Open which has been widely commentated upon – was slammed in global backlash after it was published by the Herald Sun.
Knight’s cartoon has been described as ‘astonishingly racist’ and attracted criticism from the likes of rapper Nicki Minaj and author J.K Rowling.
‘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,’ Rowling shared on Twitter.
The National Association of Black Journalists in the US called it ‘repugnant on many levels’.
But the cartoonist hit back on radio station 3AW on Tuesday saying: ‘It’s a cartoon about poor behavior. It’s nothing to do with race.’
‘I'm sorry it's been taken by social media and distorted so much.'
Knight went on to say Williams was ‘a powerful figure’ and ‘strongly built’.
Responding to a Tweet from Julie DiCaro asking: ‘Where was this cartoon for all the men who have broken their rackets over the years?’ Knight took to Twitter to share another cartoon – this time of Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, also at the US Open.
‘Well Julie, here’s a cartoon I drew a few days before when Australian male tennis player Kyrgios at the US Open was behaving badly.
‘Don’t bring gender into it when it’s all about behaviour,’ Knight reiterated.
‘I’ll accept your apology in writing.’