WARNING: ADULT CONTENT
UPDATE: @TheOnion has offically apologized with this Facebook post:
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.
The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.
In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.
Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.
If you were on Twitter after the Oscars then you are aware of “The Tweet”. It was sent out at 8:42PST and taken down within an hour of being posted. It’s content divided Twitter users between defenders of satire and those standing up for a 9-year-old Oscar nominee.
@TheOnion, the satirical media outlet that drew criticism for false hostage claims on Twitter in 2011 and more recently gained positive reviews for its “coverage” of the Newtown shooting, posted the tweet about Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis:
Coming to the young actress’s defense was former star of The Wire, Wendell Pierce who posted several tweets in response including:
@theonion Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humor I call it horrendous.
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) February 25, 2013
As well as Oscar winner Marlee Matlin:
Not that they would care, but I have no plans of ever following @theonion for their HORRIFIC tweet about a nine year old Oscar nominee.
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) February 25, 2013
As the tweet generated discussion on Twitter it also grabbed headlines including this one from the Associated Press: Onion Criticized For Joke About Quvenzhane Wallis
The Internet never forgets so it will be interesting to see if and how @TheOnion will respond. Will they fire the tweet’s author? Will they stand by their post? Will this story continue to build? Will Twitter take any action against @TheOnion? Will this post test the free speech rights of Twitter users?