[Warning: one possibly offensive word appears in this article]
On Sunday night, while the movie industry was celebrating its biggest night, satirical publication The Onion started a Twitter-tantrum by posting a no-holds-barred tweet meant to shock docile red carpet watchers. The tweet involved nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, who was up for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. The tweet was vulgar and quickly deleted, but read:
Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a cunt, right? #Oscars2013
The tweet was obviously meant to be shocking, but it seemed to have touched that American nerve that is super-sensitive to certain words, especially those that imply racism or sexism.
Though The Onion issued the internet version of a retraction by deleting the Tweet (why bother?), the sentence had already spread and the flame war had started. Sensing the need to go even further than retraction, The Onion CEO Steve Hannah has issued an apology on the publication’s website and Facebook page. From the apology:
On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.
No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.
Hannah also stated that The Onion has put in place “tighter Twitter procedures” and that the publication is “taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.”