There used to be an amusing website called The Onion, chock-full of parody and satire about current headlines and pop culture. Used to be.
On the Sunday evening of Oscars 2013, someone at The Onion decided to send out a disgusting tweet about the youngest-ever Best Actress nominee, Quvenzhane Wallis (left), star of Beasts of the Southern Wild. You can read it for yourself here.
The tweet was taken down within an hour of its posting, but the action was too late. (Note to self: Nothing dies on the Internet.) People were urged to unfollow @TheOnion on Twitter, send emails, contact media, and demand a public apology. By Monday morning, they got the apology they were seeking. The Onion CEO Steve Hannah issued a statement, saying in part:
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 controversy didn’t stop there, in part because of reactions by former Onion staffers. In addition to issuing a parody of the apology itself, they declared that Mr. Hannah’s remarks showed a loss of “editorial freedom” and the first-ever retracted tweet. One ex-Onion writer said, “It wasn’t a great joke, but big deal.”
Anyone with a sense of humor understood there was an intention to make fun of an adorable child star and Hollywood’s treatment of its starlets. But, it was a joke gone horribly wrong. Some complainers even wondered if race played a role, noting that The Onion had never issued such an attack against Dakota Fanning, for example.
If you’re wondering why this story appeals to TheNotMom.com, it’s not because 9-year-old Quvenzhane doesn’t have children of her own. It’s because if people think it’s funny to call a little girl a c–-t, is it hilarious to call you one?