The Onion apologizes for vulgar 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' tweet

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:00pm

It couldn't get any better for "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhané Wallis, a Louisiana-native, on Sunday.

Not only was Wallis, who at 9, up for a best actress Oscar, but she also recently was cast as the lead in an upcoming remake of "Annie."

And then came a tweet from satirical outlet The Onion.

With the Oscars being handed out Sunday night in Los Angeles, The Onion called the child actress a derogatory term in a tweet that has since been deleted.

The posting, which reports say was up for about an hour, immediately spread across the Web as critics blasted The Onion for the remark.

And on Monday, The Onion responded with an apology.

"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," The Onion's CEO Steve Hannah said in a statement. "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."

Hannah said in the apology that the tweet was removed within an hour of its posting, adding that The Onion has created new policies to prevent such an occurrence from happening again.

"In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible," Hannah said. "Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."

The apology came after a wide backlash on the Web, from some Twitter users saying they were unfollowing The Onion to those supporting a petition on Change.org. demanding the satirical outlet express regret.

"I would very much love to see @TheOnion explain how this was satire to a room of 9 year old girls. Please, educate us," tweeted author Jessica Valenti.

"You call it humor I call it horrendous," said actor Wendell Pierce, who tweeted to The Onion, "We won't let you be disrespectful to our children. Identify the writer. There are consequences to your free speech. ... I will never lose the ability to be offended and let anyone verbally abuse a child. Especially a child of my community in NOLA."

As New York magazine's Vulture points out, there's also a chance that the young star could have read the tweet since she appears to have a Twitter account.

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