During last night’s Academy Awards, the satirical news organization The Onion, tweeted something deeply offensive (and not funny) about 9-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis.
The problematic tweet was published in the midst of what was already one of the more sexist shows in recent Oscar history, led by host Seth MacFarlane’s crude attempts at humour.
After an onslaught of negative feedback, and within an hour, The Onion removed their tweet. Yet the fake news site had already (rightfully) angered thousands on Twitter and sparked a wide-ranging debate around sexism and racism in the media. People began calling for further action from the organization.
This morning Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion, issued an official apology via Facebook, which you can read in full over at UpWorthy. Here’s a quote:
“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 entire situation, in conjunction with MacFarlane’s terrible jokes, raises interesting questions about the limits of comedy and satire. It also displays the lightning-quick power of Twitter activism, and how careful companies should be about the way they tweet. In the long run this may be the greatest outcome of the story: that major brands and news organizations were forced this morning to think twice today about how they discuss women in their tweets.
Written by Imran Siddiquee at MissRepresentation.org. Follow him on Twitter @imransiddiquee