Nine-year-old lead actress Academy Award nominee Quvenzhane Wallis did not make headlines for winning an Oscar on Sunday, but she certainly has been the subject of many op-ed articles after satirical news outlet The Onion published a tweet about her that provoked outrage.
On Oscar night, @TheOnion tweeted: “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c---, right? #Oscars2013.” The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication, according to Steve Hannah, The Onion’s CEO who apologized for the quip yesterday.
Regarding the tweet, Hannah wrote, “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.” Nevertheless, backlash against The Onion for the tweet has been fierce with some demanding the name of the individual writer who wrote the comment about Wallis.
Did The Onion cross a line by targeting a nine-year-old girl? Did the satirical news outlet do the right thing by apologizing? Or are critics taking the traditionally nonsensical news organization much too seriously? Whether or not the joke was funny, are there certain subjects that should be off limits in comedy?
Alyssa Rosenberg , pop culture blogger for ThinkProgress and correspondent for TheAtlantic