Naomi Osaka became a world champion after trashing Serena Williams in their 2018 U.S. Open (Women’s Singles) final, but the landmark achievement on that “memorable day (06.09.2018)” has been a subject of prolonged debate.
In Japan, and in fact, to Japanese citizens all over the world, Naomi is immortal. That unexpected status quo-altering triumph made the young tennis superstar one of Japan’s most popular figures online. Her recent trip to the Asian country, however, generated more buzz because netizens won’t just stop discussing the champ’s real identity.
But with serious discussions about Naomi’s identity spreading on social media, an Australian newspaper on Wednesday redirected concerns by republishing a controversial cartoon–good enough to be considered racist–with direct and unbiased statements.
The image, a thought-provoking caricature of Serena during the U.S. Open women’s singles final, was initially published by the Herald Sun newspaper Monday.
Without questioning what impact the Herald Sun newspaper intended to create with the “body-shaming” cartoon, social media users have reacted in different ways, calling the cartoonist and news outlet some unprintable names for daring to place it on their front page. The intervening Australian newspaper summarized the social media tantrums as “politically correct” accusations, adding that the drawing was “racist and sexist.”
Mark Knight, a cartoonist with the Melbourne-based newspaper house, portrayed an outraged Serena “swearing and cursing” at the U.S. Open for reasons far from low-performance. Yes, her actions against the umpire attracted widespread condemnation, and the world has forgiven but will not forget–notwithstanding her “justified” provocations.
If only the Australian hadn’t started this new wave of activism against racism and for equality, freedom, human rights and other “politically correct” ideas.
“WELCOME TO PC WORLD,” the newspaper wrote on its front-page headline on Wednesday. “If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed.”
The cover page added other caricatures of some Australian and foreign political leaders drawn by the cartoonist.
Knight noted on Wednesday that his Twitter account was suspended “to protect his friends and family.”
The famous cartoonist attracted over 23,000 critical comments on his social media page before the shutdown. It was more so because Knight portrayed Naomi as a petite feminine with jet-blonde straight hair although, in real life, she has a dark, curly hair with blonde streaks and is shorter than Serena, who impulsively jumped up and down atop her broken racket amid controversies during the game–as Knight would have us believe. An unnecessary exaggeration.
Serena’s fat lips and curvy appearance took the “y” out of sexy.
Knight described people’s reaction with “the world has gone crazy.”
In his words, as published by News Corp. Australia on Wednesday, “I drew this cartoon Sunday night after seeing the U.S. Open final, and seeing the world’s best tennis player have a tantrum and thought that was interesting…The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behavior on the day, not about race.”
It’ll be remembered that Serena went berserk while losing against the Haitian-Japanese Naomi Osaka.
Serena smashed her racket on the floor and was seen yelling at the umpire who she also called a “thief” and a “liar”. Carlos Ramos gave the 23-time Grand Slam champion a total of three-code violations, which cost her a point penalty at the sporting event and, eventually, a game penalty. She was fined $17,000 for the three code violations.
In her post-match news conference, Serena said: “I’m here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality…”