News parody site The Onion took the unusual step of issuing an apology over a tweet it posted and deleted about 9-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhane Wallis, during Sunday night's Academy Awards.
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 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.
The tweet led to an enormous amount of backlash on Twitter. Here's just a handful of reactions:
The removal of the tweet and the formal apology signals a change for the satirical organization known for its pointed lampoonery and raunchy humor. (Other Oscar tweets included a fake quote from Daniel Day-Lewis, saying, "While I'm Glad I Won, I Personally Believe Abraham Lincoln Deserved To Die" and a fashion report noting Zero Dark Thirty Director Kathryn Bigelow "Stuns On Red Carpet Wearing Blood-Soaked Rags Osama Bin Laden Was Killed In."
Back in 2011, U.S. Capitol police investigated The Onion after they tweeted "BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building," to their more than 3 million followers.
In that instance, their response to critics was to double-down on their original post, unleashing a series of Tweets furthering its "story." Among them: "Extra demands include transport to Dulles airport with fueled-up private jet waiting on runway. McCain expected to fly it." and "Obama: 'I know this Congress well. Trust me, they will kill these kids.'" The Onion also ran another story claiming the hostage negotiation talks had stalled.