TV Host Keeps Job After Calling Serena Williams 'A Monkey At The Zoo'

The National Council for Combating Discrimination in Bucharest only fined him $1,875.

Radu Banciu said Serena Williams
Photo Credit: YouTube and Getty Images

| September 20 2019,

6:27 pm

Romanian TV host Radu Banciu was allowed to keep his job after saying tennis legend Serena Williams "looks exactly like one of those monkeys at the zoo with the red asses."

"If monkeys wore trousers, they'd look exactly like Serena Williams does on the court," he added, according to a translation from The National Council for Combating Discrimination in Bucharest.

The council fined Banciu $1,875 for the comments and allowed him to keep his job. 

In the council's press release, they said Banciu violated their journalism guidelines and implied this was not his first time saying offensive things about minorities. 

"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 press release stated.

Since Williams emerged as a tennis talent, she has faced blatant racism from commentators, coaches and other tennis players about her body and skin color. Fans spent years shouting slurs and racist epithets at Williams and her sister Venus. 

Williams was forced to boycott the Indian Wells tournament for 14 years because of their refusal to stop fans from shouting horrifically racist things about her and her family.

On tennis broadcasts, commentators have spent decades joking about her body shape and repeatedly compared her physique to animals. Multiple tennis players have insulted her after matches by calling her a man or comparing her to an animal. 

Anna Kournikova once said, "I’m not Venus Williams. I’m not Serena Williams. I’m feminine. I don’t want to look like they do. I’m not masculine like they are.”

Tennis umpires also used to penalize Venus for the beads in her hair.

One would expect these kinds of things to have slowed down as Williams cemented herself as one of the greatest players to ever step on a tennis court. However, Williams continues to face problems with racist judges or wildly offensive depictions of her.

In 2018, an Australian newspaper caused outrage by publishing a cartoon of Williams exaggerating her lips and body.

The newspaper defended the cartoonist and printed it again as an act of defiance. The Australian government also sanctioned the cartoon despite the outrage.