A Romanian TV host has become the latest of a long line to attack 2019 tennis champion Serena Williams with a racially charged insult.
“Serena Williams looks exactly like one of those monkeys at the zoo with the red asses,” host Radu Banciu said on B1 TV, his late evening show, likely was referring to baboons, Business Insider reports.
“If monkeys wore trousers, they’d look exactly like Serena Williams does on the court,” the host said.
Business Insider credited its report to a press release issued last week by the National Council for Combating Discrimination, based in the Romanian capital Bucharest. The news organization had its associate translation editor, Ruqayyah Moyihan, translate the release into English.
According to a version of the document translated by Google, the council has fined Banciu the U.S. equivalent of $1,875 for what he said, but apparently will keep his job.
Banciu’s comment “represents discrimination and violates the right to dignity,” the council ruled. “The governing board shows that slavery of people of color was based, among other things, on their comparison with monkeys. As a result, such statements express a form of extreme racism.”
The council noted that this is not the first time Banciu has made racist and sexist comments. According to KingofRomania.com, he also was once quoted calling Moldovan women “lazy whores,” for which he was reprimanded but not fired. He also defended deposed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu while making comments about an anti-Hungarian racist incident.
Williams herself has frequently been the subject of racist depictions.
Last year, fans reacted in anger when the Herald Sun newspaper in Australia published a cartoon of Williams stomping a tennis racked in anger. The depiction of Williams included oversized lips, an angry countenance and ungracefully spread legs. A court official is seen in the cartoon asking the opposing tennis player, white and blonde, “Can you just let her win?”
Williams’ husband, Reddit cofounder Alex Ohanian, at the time called the cartoon by artist Mark Knight “racist and misogynistic,” but a media watchdog group in Australia dismissed the cartoon, saying it only showed Williams in “a highly animated tantrum.”
Earlier this month, Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, lost the U.S. Open Final to Canadian Bianca Andreescu, who is of Romanian descent.
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