In a rare departure from satire, The Onion has issued a sincere apology for a tweet posted on its official Twitter account Sunday night that called 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis an offensive slur.
Steve Hannah, the CEO of Onion, Inc., posted a letter apologizing on the fake news outlet's official Facebook page.
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.
You can read the rest of the apology here.
The tweet in question, which was posted during the live broadcast of the Academy Awards ceremony, posed the sarcastic question that many felt crossed the line: "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c--t, right? #Oscars2013". (The original tweet did not censor the slur.)
The tweet was deleted about an hour later after enormous social media backlash.
Hannah went on to say that The Onion has "instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again," and that the individuals responsible for the tweet have been disciplined accordingly. (The Onion does not publicly credit individual writers for articles or jokes.)
This public apology is a change from how The Onion typically addresses controversy. The humor outlet rarely "breaks character" in the face of outcry, such as when they ran satirical coverage of a shooter in Washington, D.C. in 2011 that alarmed many residents. At the time, a spokesperson for the company simply said, "This is satire. That's how it works."
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