Karl Stefanovic defended the artist behind a controversial cartoon by Serena Williams, saying that people who do not like it should not look at it.
The cartoon, drawn by Mark Knight of the Herald Sun, made headlines around the world after it was labeled as online racist by celebrities like J.K. Rowling and Nicki Minaj,
The Today Show host discussed the raffle during the morning show on Wednesday and said that attempting to censor the work as Knight's cartoons was a "slippery slope".
"I know some people find offensive things like that, but it's a satire, and it's an art, if you do not like it, you do not have to look at it or read it," Stefanovic said.
Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight has been harshly criticized by celebrities such as J.K. Rowling and Nicki Minaj for her drawing by Serena Williams (pictured)
The presenter of today's show, Karl Stefanovic, was talking about the caricature during the show on Wednesday morning
"The moment we start trying to crack down on cartoonists is a slippery slope into a world that I think has changed beyond being recognized."
Co-host Georgie Gardner said she was wondering if Williams was worried about the caricature.
Stefanovic said he hoped that she would agree with that & # 39; and that Williams would travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open early in 2019.
"I think that freedom of expression is very important … I hope you can see the funny side and I hope it's here in January, that's the only thing I would say about it."
News anchor Sylvia Jefferies said she had trouble forming an opinion about the cartoon, since she herself had not experienced racism.
"I'm happy to sit down and listen to people who say they feel they have experienced racism in their lives and they see an element of that in him," he said.
& # 39; Personally, I'm with you there. I see that this is what the cartoonists do, they exaggerate things. That is the goal of what they do with their art.
"So I do not see that and I think a lot of the anger has also been exaggerated in the debate."
Co-host Georgie Gardner said she was wondering if Williams herself was worried about the caricature
News anchor Sylvia Jefferies said the cartoon said she had trouble forming an opinion about the cartoon, since she herself had not experienced racism
Knight defended his illustration of Williams as a baby having a tantrum, saying it had nothing to do with race (Pictured: Williams after the final with Naomi Osaka)
Knight defended his illustration of Williams as a baby having a tantrum, saying it had nothing to do with race.
"Sorry, it has been taken by social networks and distorted so much," he told 3AW.
Knight said he had tried to respond to comments made by people on social media "but they do not listen."
"It's (Williams) great to draw, it's a powerful figure (and) it's very well formed."
The Herald Sun has also endorsed Knight in the face of international criticism.
The newspaper's publisher, Damon Johnston, said Knight's vignette had shown how "a tennis champion had a mega tantrum on the world stage."
"It has nothing to do with gender or race," he said in The Herald Sun.
News Corp Australasia CEO Michael Miller also gave his support to Knight and the caricature.
Harry Potter, author J.K. Rowling was among a series of celebrities who became infuriated with the caricature
The image of Williams was criticized by critics from around the world who compared the image with a representation of black women of the Jim Crow era.
"The criticism of Mark Knight's cartoon, Serena Williams, shows that the world has also left the PC and misinterprets the role of cartoons and media satire.The misbehavior in any sport must be summoned" wrote Miller on Twitter.
Knight had shared the cartoon on Twitter, as had the newspaper. However, he was quickly criticized by critics around the world who compared the image with a representation of black women of the Jim Crow era.
In a separate interview with ABC, she said: "I drew her as an African-American woman.
& # 39; She is powerfully built. She wears these extravagant costumes when she plays tennis.
& # 39; It's interesting to draw. I drew her the way she is, like an African-American woman.
The caricature represented the collapse of Williams during the final of the United States Open, in which he argued with chairman Carlos Ramos.
"So, this whole thing is that I'm a kind of racist, and I turn to the racial cartoons of the past, it's invented, it's not there. & # 39;
Harry Potter, author J.K. Rowling was among a series of celebrities who became infuriated with the caricature.
"Well done by reducing one of the best living athletes to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great athlete into a faceless hero," he said.
She joined her critique of the piece by comedian Kathy Griffin, who called Knight a "racist piece of s ** t".
Rapper Nicki Minaj challenged Knight on his radio show.
You drew this woman trying to be funny or looking like you were trying to make fun of her or something like, are you out of your mind?