Famous Aquarium Apologizes For Using Racial Terms To Fat-Shame Otter

(Ondrej Chvatal/Shutterstock)

Jon Brown Associate Editor
Font Size:

The Monterey Bay Aquarium apologized Wednesday for using racially charged language in reference to a seemingly overweight sea otter.

In an apology that spanned four tweets, the California aquarium referenced an earlier post that featured Abby, a 46-pound otter that lives there. An aquarium worker told the LA Times that Abby has a normal weight and that it was merely an unflattering angle. Nevertheless, Abby looks a bit hefty in the photo.

Beneath it, the aquarium posted the following poem:

Abby is a thicc girl
What an absolute unit
She c h o n k
Look at the size of this lady
Another Internetism !

The tweet was interpreted by many to be an inappropriate use of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). “Thicc,” according to the top definition on Urban Dictionary, is “when a person has fat in the right places, creating sexy curves.”

As reported by The Sacramento Bee, one of those offended was Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a theoretical physicist at the University of Washington. Her Twitter account has since been made private, but she was quoted as saying, “I’m certain that @MontereyAq didn’t realize that they were basically comparing Black women to animals by using AAVE developed to talk about Black women’s bodies to describe an animal. But that’s pretty bad, MBA.”

After backlash, the aquarium issued the following apology:

Follow Jon Brown on Twitter