DC Trawler

The Onion calls 9-year-old Oscar nominee the C-word, and it’s not “cute”

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If you thought there wasn’t anything interesting about the 2013 Academy Awards, you were right. Pretty much the only newsworthy event* happened on Twitter.

Courtesy of Twitchy, here’s a tweet that somebody at the Onion sent out last night, before deleting it about an hour later:

I blocked out the rest of the word because my mom might read this. HINT: It’s too short to be “cold front.”

Here’s a picture of Quvenzhané Wallis, who was nominated for Best Actress for Beasts of the Southern Wild:

On one hand, as someone whose jokes fail on a regular basis, I get the impulse behind it. Say something that’s the opposite of the obvious truth, in as shocking a manner as possible. Sometimes blunt and stupid can be funny. Pointless, over-the-top meanness can be funny.

On the other hand, she’s a 9-year-old kid. Imagine being her parents and reading that. Imagine being her and reading that.

I never thought I’d see the day when the Onion apologized for a joke, but they just did. Here it is, in full:

Dear Readers,

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.


Steve Hannah


The Onion

Of course, that’s assuming he’s not being ironic. You know, saying the opposite of what he really means, as a joke.** And note that he’s following the NBC News model, where you “apologize” and promise to “discipline those responsible,” without saying who they are and what those disciplinary measures might be.

Well, the Onion has the right to make jokes like that, people have the right to respond to those jokes, and the Onion has the right to respond to that criticism. That’s how it works.

Twitter is a minefield. It helps not to be leadfooted.

*Michelle Obama presenting Best Picture is only newsworthy to somebody who’s been in a coma for the last 5 years. I’m just surprised she didn’t win an honorary award for Best Example of Why We’re Not Racists.

**Just kidding, he’s a CEO.

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Jim Treacher