Australian newspaper defies criticism, reprints Serena Williams cartoon

A newspaper stand displays the Herald Sun newspaper, featuring a controversial cartoon of Serena Williams, in Melbourne on September 12, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Australian newspaper defies criticism, reprints Serena Williams cartoon

  • The cartoon fueled a global debate over Williams’ controversial defeat by Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the US Open women’s singles final in New York on Saturday
  • The image triggered widespread allegations of racism against illustrator Mark Knight

SYDNEY: An Australian newspaper defied international criticism and allegations of racism on Wednesday when it reprinted a controversial cartoon on its front page depicting US tennis star Serena Williams having a temper tantrum at the US Open.
The Herald Sun, owned by News Corp, first published the caricature of Williams with exaggerated lips and tongue and curly hair rising from the top of her head as she stomped on her tennis racket on Monday.
The image triggered widespread allegations of racism against illustrator Mark Knight. The Herald Sun and Knight deny the cartoon is racist.
Despite the outrage, the paper reprinted the cartoon alongside unflattering caricatures of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attempting to portray the controversy as an effort to curtail free speech.
“If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed,” the paper wrote in an editorial on its front page.
Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston extended the defense on Twitter as he denied any racism or sexism.
“It rightly mocks poor behavior by a tennis legend,” Johnson tweeted.
However, the cartoon still drew widespread criticism, most notably online. Knight said he had received death threats against his family since the cartoon was published, forcing him to suspend his Twitter account.
The cartoon fueled a global debate over Williams’ controversial defeat by Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the US Open women’s singles final in New York on Saturday.
Williams, who was vying to equal Australian player Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles, lost in straight sets after a heated clash with chair umpire Carlos Ramos over code violations that resulted in her being penalized a game.
The incident has split the tennis community. Novak Djokovic, the US Open men’s champion, criticized Ramos, while Court backed the use of the code violation penalty.
Williams, who was fined $17,000 for the three code violations, said after the match male players were held to a lower standard for court conduct.
“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality,” Williams told a post-match news conference.


Instagram co-founders resign from social media company

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which bought Instagram in 2012, founders Mike Krieger, left, and Kevin Systrom ‘extraordinary product leaders.’ (Reuters)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Instagram co-founders resign from social media company

  • Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, just before going public, at a price that seemed inconceivable at the time — $1 billion
  • Instagram has largely escaped Facebook’s high-profile problems over user privacy, foreign elections interference and fake news

SAN FRANCISCO: The co-founders of Instagram are resigning their positions with the social media company without explanation.
Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said in a statement late Monday that he and Mike Krieger, Instagram’s chief technical officer, plan to leave the company in the next few weeks and take time off “to explore our curiosity and creativity again.”
“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” Systrom said. “We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter.”
“Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do,” Systrom said. “We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion.”
No explanation was given for their sudden departure from the photo-sharing network they founded in 2010.
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, just before going public, at a price that seemed inconceivable at the time — $1 billion — especially for a little-known startup with no profit. At the time Instagram was ad-free, with a loyal following of 31 million users who were all on mobile devices — still a somewhat elusive bunch for the web-born Facebook back then. Since then, the service has grown to more than 1 billion users and has of course added plenty of advertisements.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Systrom and Krieger “extraordinary product leaders” and said he was looking forward “to seeing what they build next.”
The departures are a challenge for Facebook. Instagram has been a bright spot for company not just because it’s seen as a more uplifting place than Facebook itself, but because it is popular with teens and young people — a group Facebook has had trouble keeping around.
Instagram has largely escaped Facebook’s high-profile problems over user privacy, foreign elections interference and fake news, even though it is not immune to any of these things (Facebook recently disclosed it has deleted hundreds of pages on its namesake site as well as Instagram that were linked to global misinformation campaigns intended to disrupt elections).
Though Systrom, in the early days of Instagram ads, famously checked each one personally to ensure it aligned with the app’s aesthetics, he was not as loudly anti-ads as the founder of another popular Facebook-acquired mobile app, WhatsApp.
WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum resigned in April.
Koum had signaled years earlier that he would take a stand against Facebook if the company’s push to increase profits demanded radical changes in the way WhatsApp operates. In a blog post written when Facebook announced the biggest acquisition in its history, Koum wrote that the deal wouldn’t have happened if WhatsApp “had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.”