We've contended once before that "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhané Wallis, who made history as the Academy's youngest-ever Best Actress nominee at just nine, deserves the nickname Cutiezhane, but it looks like The Onion opted for a totally different C word during last night's Oscars telecast.
The spoofy humor site went one too far when it tweeted, "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c--t, right?"
Um, wrong. So, so wrong. Had Wallis been one of the adult nominees of the evening, perhaps this could've passed as a joke, but the Twitter world reacted with a furor few have ever experienced, even after The Onion deleted the tweet.
First, there was the anger.
@theonion Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humor I call it horrendous.
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) February 25, 2013
#Unacceptable #Outrageous MT @unclerush the v offensive tweet abt Quvenzhané Wallis @theonion doesn't want you to see bit.ly/YrZbh1
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 25, 2013
Half-heard story of @theonion tweet; assumed I heard wrong. No; they DID wrong. Retract, apologize, dismiss buzzfeed.com/kateaurthur/th…
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 25, 2013
Not that they would care, but I have no plans of ever following @theonion for their HORRIFIC tweet about a nine year old Oscar nominee.
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) February 25, 2013
Anybody who comes and says the Onion thing was "just a joke" should be reminded that a 9-year-old has to go to school and deal with this.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) February 25, 2013
Look, I get comedy. I get satire. But what @theonion said about a 9-year-old girl nominated for an Oscar is atrocious.
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) February 25, 2013
Quvenzhane Wallis is a nine year old woman of colour. Let's let what @theonion did sink in and remember that Dakota Fanning never had this.
— Elizabeth Hawksworth (@torontonannie) February 25, 2013
Then, there was some considerably light humor about the sitch.
"So, how did the intern do with the Sunday-night shift?" casually wonders a yawning editor of @theonion, slowly waking up...
— John Kovalic (@muskrat_john) February 25, 2013
Today is the first day in 12 years we get to feel superior to The Onion.
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) February 25, 2013
In protest of The Onion i will now dismantle this onion [rips off a layer] what the heck theres more onion in here [rips off another] what t
— wolf puppy (@wolfpupy) February 25, 2013
wow the onion had a bunch of offensive tweets tonight - twitter.com/AndyBridgman/s…
— Pube Goldberg (@AndyBridgman) February 25, 2013
Heck, a few people even virtually stepped up to defend the site as being inoffensive by nature of its inherent offensiveness.
We got that @theonion was making fun of our celeb-obsessed, celeb-jealous, celeb-dissing culture and not Quevenzhane Wallis, right?
— Joel Stein (@thejoelstein) February 25, 2013
People are all upset about The Onion using the C word. Remember, it's The Onion. People easily offended shouldn't follow them. It's a joke!
— Kristine Oakhurst (@citizenhorse) February 25, 2013
You can be mad at The Onion all you want - …but that tweet was brilliant satire of our culture. You hated... tmblr.co/ZbT3LteyjsMU
— daveanthony (@daveanthony) February 25, 2013
As awful as @theonion joke was, people shd be equally disgusted by McFarlane's joke about Quvenzhané dating Clooney, which was to her face.
— emilynussbaum (@emilynussbaum) February 25, 2013
After all this and a petition demanding it, The Onion's CEO Steve Hannah finally delivered an apology for its tweet today via Facebook, admitting the phrase was "crude and offensive" and "inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire." "No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire," Hannah continued, promising the site will overhaul its Twitter posting procedures and discipline the tweeter responsible. Further, Hannah addressed little Q directly, writing, "Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."