The image was drawn by Mark Knight and it appeared in the Herald Sun, an Australian newspaper. It is meant to parody Williams' issues with a tournament judge who she believes treated her unfairly, but it utilizes — as described by TMZ — "a Jim Crow-era, Sambo-style caricature" of an African-American person.
Rowling, like many others, has expressed her issues with the drawing and the way it portrays Williams.
"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," she tweeted.
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. //t.co/YOxVMuTXEC— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 10, 2018
A number of Rowling's followers have also supported her stance, with one person saying, "John McEnroe was never portrayed in this fashion and he was the biggest, whiney baby in the history of professional sports."
Recently, I was going through a 19th century archive, and this image could be from that time. The way the subject is dehumanized to cliches, and appalling racist stereotypes is pure white privilege. I see this type of racism as fear-based ignorance.— Telefan (@Telefanmusic) September 10, 2018
"Mark Knight hides behind his pencils and twitter screen," someone else wrote. "Mean while, Serena is a living legend that inspires women and men worldwide. Nice try Mr. Knight, you have failed to diminish her."
"To weigh in here, as a brown person, I know that authority can treat you differently than your white peers," another Twitter user said. "It's s—. It happens. Provokes less than 'graceful' responses. Serena was not treated fairly hence the response."
Drawing something like this is bad enough, but posting it to his own twitter is deliberate. He knows there's going to be backlash and he wants to ride it to fame and fortune. And the tragedy is there are groups out there who will give him those things for being as bad as them.— Mahdi Feituri (@ThatFeituriBoy) September 10, 2018
At this time, neither Knight nor The Herald Sun appear to have shown any indication of backing down from the graphic.
Additionally, while many others have come to her defense, Williams herself does not appear to have publicly commented on the cartoon.1comments