It was the Oscar night tweet heard ‘round the world: While 9-year-old lead actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis was enjoying her first Academy Award celebration, satirical website the Onion was disparaging the “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star with a tweet that generated outrage.
The tweet read, in part: “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is ... " and then referred to her by a crude obscenity.
The backlash to the brief message happened quickly, and within an hour the Onion, known primarily for its smart, satirical take on pop culture, removed the offensive tweet from its feed.
Actor Wendell Pierce from “The Wire” and “Treme” was one of the most outraged and posted a string of tweets in his feed, one calling for the writer of the post to be identified.
“Let him defend that abhorrent attack of a child. You call it humor. I call it horrendous,” wrote Pierce.
The Onion issued a full apology to both Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, promising readers that the site will institute stricter guidelines for its Twitter feed and will discipline the people involved with the message.
“No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire,” wrote Onion Chief Executive Steve Hannah. “Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.”