Australian Press Council rules no breach of its standards of practice.
The Australian Press Council has ruled that a controversial Serena Williams cartoon published by Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper in September did not breach Australia's press standards.
The cartoon in question, created by cartoonist Mark Knight, depicts Williams in a fit of rage with her mouth open wide, fists clenched and jumping above a broken tennis racket and a baby's pacifier. The image references Serena's outburst following during her loss in the US Open finals against Naomi Osaka.
"Specifically, concern was expressed that the cartoon depicted Ms. Williams with large lips, a broad flat nose, a wild afro-styled ponytail hairstyle different to that worn by Ms. Williams during the match and positioned in an ape-like pose," the council said in a statement.
"The council considered that the cartoon uses exaggeration and absurdity to make its point but accepts the publisher's claim that it does not depict Ms Williams as an ape, rather showing her as 'spitting the dummy,' a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers."
Knight told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday he was "very happy" with the council's ruling.
"I will not be changing the way I draw cartoons because I think I'm a very free and fair cartoonist and I accept issues on their merits and draw them as such," he said.
Several celebrities have called out Knight and Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper for the tasteless image, including "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, comedian Kathy Griffin and Jemele Hill. “
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,” J.K. Rowling posted.