Newspaper's Cartoon of Serena Williams as Toddler Having Tantrum Slammed as Racist, Sexist

A number of users said they had reported the cartoon to Twitter

A cartoon of tennis great Serena Williams published in an Australian newspaper is sparking backlash on Twitter with accusations of "blatant" sexism and racism. 

Herald Sun editorial cartoonist Mark Knight released the controversial cartoon depicting Serena Williams as a toddler having a tantrum on Monday, following her defeat by Naomi Osaka in the US Open Sunday.

The 23-time winner of the Grand Slam singles title was fined for verbal abuse of chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the final Sunday, and was also fined $3,000 for breaking her racket.

By midday Monday, Knight’s comic had gained international attention, with many on Twitter criticizing his depiction of Williams and his decision to portray Japanese-Haitian champion Naomi Osaka as Caucasian with blonde hair.

“Mark - do you make these same cartoons for every white male athlete who shows intensity during a heated contest? Or are you reserving it for a black women because of your own biases based on gender and race? Ask yourself in a quiet moment. Then do better,” Amy Siskind tweeted.

Other users said they were so offended they had reported the image to Twitter for being racist. The image was compared to the depiction of black people in "Little Black Sambo," an 1899 children's book which sparked a rash of counterfeit versions featuring racist stereotypes of people of color.

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“I would say delete this, but this display of racism is so blatant in the year 2018 that it belongs in a museum to raise awareness to future generations about what African-Americans are going through today," Eugene Gu tweeted.

It was not Knight's first time in the spotlight for his cartoons. Earlier this August the award-winning cartoonist's image of carticatured African teenagers was branded racist by local politicians. 

Meanwhile, the Women's Tennis Association has backed Williams' claims of sexism and chief executive Steve Simon stated that "The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men versus women.”

Knight has not yet responded to NBC 4's request for comment.

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