The Onion Called Quvenzhané Wallis A Horrible Word [UPDATED]

The Onion’s Twitter feed called 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis the “c” word. The backlash was swift and harsh. Warning: The offending tweet is within this post.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

It wasn’t a great year for women at the Oscars, as chronicled in the BuzzFeed post “9 Sexist Things That Happened At The Oscars.” And that was a bummer.

Unfortunately, on social media there was something even more unpleasant than Seth MacFarlane’s “I Saw Your Boobs” song. This tweet by The Onion took a lot of people by surprise:

After being up for an hour, the backlash gathered, and the tweet was deleted. Was it meant to be some sort of joke reflecting on how people talk about someone like Anne Hathaway? I tweeted at The Onion for comment and emailed its editor, but have not gotten a response.

During the show, MacFarlane sexualized her as well: “To give you an idea of just how young she is, it will be 16 years until she’s too old for Clooney.”

Apparently, the presence of a 9-year-old girl experiencing a triumphant moment brings out the ugliest side of some people. Let’s hope she never finds out what The Onion wrote about her. And if she does, that she also finds out that people freaked out about it. Particularly Wendell Pierce, who played Bunk on The Wire. Take it away, Mr. Pierce:

@TheOnion I will never lose the ability to be offended and let anyone verbally abuse a child. Especially a child of my community in NOLA

— WendellPierce (@Wendell Pierce)

@TheSteamer They have the freedom to say whatever they want and I have a right to say it's offensive. I won't stand by and watch the abuse.

— WendellPierce (@Wendell Pierce)

UPDATE: The CEO of The Onion has apologized to Wallis and the Academy for the tweet.

Feb. 25, 2013

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

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