The Onion's 'Christian Bale Visits Sikh Temple Victims' Headline Stokes More Controversy

AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale and his wife Sandra Blazic visit the memorial across the street from the Century 1
AURORA, CO - JULY 24: Actor Christian Bale and his wife Sandra Blazic visit the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. The memorial was created for the victims of the mass shooting that occured at the theater last Friday. James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a screening of the new 'Batman' film. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

On the same day that hundreds gathered to memorialize the six Sikh worshippers gunned down at a temple in Milwaukee, satirical news site The Onion ran a headline joke that could be regarded as so too soon you'd need a time machine to even get to it.

The Onion's featured story on Friday paired a photo of a mournful Christian Bale, taken from his visit with the victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting, with the headline, "Christian Bale Visits Sikh Temple Victims."

While clearly satirizing the cultural importance of celebrities and not those who were killed or injured, the article's timing -- not even a week after the tragedy and on the day the victims were buried -- could strike readers as a little too glib.

The Onion is no stranger to controversy, especially recently. The paper made headlines just last weekend for a joke that showed a plane flying into Chicago's Willis Tower. The unmistakable 9/11 imagery caused a flurry of criticism, to which Editor Will Tracy gave The Huffington Post this tongue-in-cheek response:

The Onion is not in the business of ignoring newsworthy stories simply because they shock or horrify the teeming masses. If anyone wants to point a finger, they should point it at the hard-line, fundamentalist wing of the Sears Corporation for committing this heinous act.

A lightening rod for both controversy and confusion, The Onion has always addressed sensitive issues with its specific brand of satire. It's famous September 26, 2001 issue created a catharsis felt the world over, with headlines like, "God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule," and "Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell."

So where does this latest headline land? According to one of The Onion's Twitter followers, the gag was "Stupid, racist, cruel and not funny." At last count, however, the tweet linking to the article had 251 retweets and 72 favorites.

Take a look at The Onion article here and weigh in with our poll.



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