The Onion apologizes for Quvenzhané Wallis c-word tweet

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Popular satirical newspaper The Onion, known for its humorous jabs at prominent figures, may have taken it a step too far with a vulgar tweet about 9-year-old Oscar nominee, Quvenzhané Wallis.

Someone tweeted from the publication’s account during the Oscars: “Everyone seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c**t right?”

The Onion deleted the controversial tweet an hour after posting due to the negative backlash from Twitter users.

In an email statement sent to theGrio, CEO Steve Hannah apologizes to young Wallis and says the crude tweet was “inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.” The statement continues:

“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.”

In light of the scandal, social media users and bloggers are now commenting on the fine line between satire and slander.

Although The Onion has a strong reputation for its witty and satirical content, many people argue that the tweet went far beyond the boundaries of good taste. writer Prachi Gupta says that “A great satirist has to both ground a joke in reality, while  simultaneously teasing out enough absurdity to turn it into commentary.”

However, Gupta contends that The Onion‘s tweet last night  “reads like a degrading attack on a child; at worst, it’s a racially-tinged degrading attack on a child…no one really thinks calling a child a c-word is funny.”

Some celebrities also weighed in on the debate. Wendell Pierce, star of HBO’s The Wire and Treme, argued that the tweet was disrespectful to the young Beasts of the Southern Wild star.

But not everyone on the Twitter seemed to take offense to the tweet. It was retweeted more than 500 times and favorited by around 400 users before being deleted.

Follow Brittany Tom on Twitter @brittanyrtom