Seth MacFarlane’s off-colored jokes and Jennifer Lawrence’s dramatic trip up the stage steps were not biggest faux pas in relation to this year’s Oscar awards.
The most questionable moment was when someone at the satirical site, The Onion, posted an offensive tweet about 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, who was nominated for the best actress award.
The Twittersphere lit up after the tweet with some of the most common responses I saw urging people to unfollow The Onion‘s account. Some even went so far as to provide The Onion‘s address and telephone number and encourage direct responses.
Others defended the publication, pointing out the satirical nature of its content and how the genre often borders on offensive.
The Onion removed the tweet within the hour. Of course, as many other brands have learned on social media, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
The Onion‘s CEO Steve Hannah posted an apology about 12 hours later on Facebook. It read:
“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.”
My guess is that the apology also was not well received. It’s difficult to undo the damage so quickly inflicted via social media.
I like to think I have a sense of humor. I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next person. I certainly am a supporter of free speech. I also support the responsibility for one’s actions the freedom demands, which is why I unfollowed The Onion after I saw the tweet. Satire loses its appeal when a child is bashed. I’m not sure what makes anyone think that’s funny.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
What do you think about the response to The Onion’s tweet? Should the public expect such boundary pushing out of satirical publications or did they go too far? Should the CEO have apologized?