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Serena Williams Cartoon Accused of Racism Cleared by Australian Watchdog

A cartoon of Serena Williams that caused an outcry over its alleged use of racist and sexist stereotypes didn’t breach Australian media standards, the country’s press watchdog said Monday. The published editorial cartoon showed Williams stomping on her tennis racket next to a baby’s pacifier. It was published after Williams lost a match to Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open, during which she accused the umpire of sexism and being a “thief.” The cartoon was widely criticized, with the National Association of Black Journalists denouncing it as “repugnant on many levels,” and the Australian Press Council said public criticism focused on the cartoon's “large lips, a broad flat nose... and [being] positioned in an ape-like pose.” However, the watchdog ruled the cartoon did “not depict Ms. Williams as an ape, rather showing her as ‘spitting the dummy,’ a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers.” Cartoonist Mark Knight was reportedly “very happy” about the watchdog’s ruling.