"I am truly perplexed." Serena Williams' husband rips into an Australian newspaper editor.

Husband of tennis superstar Serena Williams, Alex Ohanian Sr, has responded to the controversial cartoon of his wife at the US Open that was drawn by Mark Knight and published by Australian newspaper the Herald Sun last week.

In an angry tweet, Ohanian called the cartoon of Williams “racist and misogynistic”, but directed his comment not to Knight, but to the newspaper’s editor, Damon Johnston, who had publicly defended the publication.

Ohanian, a co-founder of website Reddit, wrote:

“I am truly perplexed to learn this editor of the Australian newspaper behind the blatantly racist & misogynistic cartoon of my wife is a ‘Male Champion of Change” … Is this supposed to be satire, too?”

In an unexpected but significant move, Ohanian also tagged Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick in the tweet.


Last week the Herald Sun ran the cartoon by Knight, in response to Williams’ outburst after a ‘coaching’ allegation from umpire Carlos Ramos at the grand slam event.

Williams had vehemently defended herself to Ramos, accusing him of sexism, when she was penalised a game after what he deemed to be three code violations. At one point, the tennis superstar threw her racquet on the court with such force that it was crushed.

It was a-typical behaviour from Williams, prompting Knight to satirise the moment.

The cartoon quickly attracted worldwide condemnation, and social media backlash, for being racist. Many influential people including author J.K. Rowling, and Australian Waleed Aly, criticised the drawing for being a stereotype and racist.

Johnston on Tuesday defended Knight:

“A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that. It had nothing to do with gender or race.”

In further defiance of the criticism, Johnston then tweeted a preview that the newspaper intended to publish the next day, questioning the “satire free zone of the world” – and re-printing the cartoon.

It is that tweet which Ohanian has responded to, directly calling out the editor for comment.