ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

The cartoonist at the centre of worldwide condemnation has defended his work this morning by revealing he actually has lots of African-American friends – meaning it’s impossible for him to be racist.

Mark Knight’s depiction of 23-time tennis Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in a Herald Sun cartoon earlier this week has been branded racist, sexist and largely inappropriate by members of the African-American and the global community at large.

Speaking to The Advocate this morning, Knight explained how ‘his artwork is actually not that racist when you think about it’.

“You know, I actually have lots of African-American friends and they said it’s funny,” he said.

“So I guess my critics can go dwell on that little kernel of truth for a minute. I honestly don’t have a racist bone in my body.”

Knight, who is also afraid of going to restaurants in Melbourne once the sun goes down, did concede that his depiction of Serena Williams ‘does kinda look like those racist illustrations of African-American people from like the 50s’ but goes on to declare he didn’t know they existed until the Twitter storm erupted.

“It’s just a coincidence that cartoonists of yesteryear depicted African-Americans in a negative light by exaggerating certain features, honest to God,” he shrugged.

The Herald-Sun has also lept to the defence of Knight, saying that this world of tolerance and respect has gone mad.

On today’s cover, the Melbournese tabloid loudly declared that PC has gone mad.

Speaking exclusively to The Advocate today, the paper’s editor¬†Damon Johnston said he sees nothing wrong with the cartoon.

“Uh,” he said.

“If you go back and look at Mark’s previous work, you’ll see that all his cartoons feature people with exaggerated features. Just look at our front page today. A veritable smorgasbord of Mark’s great, brave depictions of prominent people,”

“Serena may be the only African-American person on the cover but that, uh, has nothing to do with race. The rabid left will tell you otherwise. But, uh, yeah. That’s all I have to say on that.”

More to come.

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