15:31 GMT12 August 2020
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    As a result of a conflict with an umpire during a recent US Open match, American tennis star Serena Williams received three code violations, eventually losing a point and then the whole game.

    Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston has responded to accusations of racism over the Australian newspaper's Mark Knight depicting US tennis star Serena Williams in a cartoon, which Johnston claimed "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," Johnston said, in a nod to Williams' recent dispute with an umpire during the US Open final over what she described as sexist treatment.

    READ MORE: 'Too Far': French Open Bans Serena Williams' Black Panther-Inspired Catsuit

    Johnston was echoed by Knight who insisted that "the cartoon about Serena is about her poor behavior on the day, not about race."

    "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. It's been picked up by social media in the US and my phone has just melted down. The world has just gone crazy," Knight added.

    Meanwhile, Twitter users have remained at odds over the Australian newspaper's explanations, with some describing the cartoon as "certainly offensive," while others have claimed that it is "not racist or sexist" and that it "rightly mocks poor behavior by a tennis legend."

    In the cartoon published by Knight on his Twitter page, Williams is depicted as a spoiled child who destroys her racket in a furious rampage because she is losing, with the umpire asking if her opponent can "just let her win."

    READ MORE: Serena Williams Complains About 'Shocking' Treatment by US Anti-Doping Agency

    According to CNN, the cartoon shows Williams having "large, exaggerated lips and nose reminiscent of racist depictions of black people in the US during the Jim Crow era," a reference to state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in some US states between 1890 and 1964.


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    cartoon, newspaper, accusations, treatment, racism, US Open, Twitter, Serena Williams, United States
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