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The Onion apologizes for offensive Quvenzhané Wallis tweet
By MARK KENNEDY, The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Onion is apologizing for calling the 9-year-old star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" a vulgar and offensive name on Twitter, an attack that led to a firestorm online.

Bing: More on The Onion's offensive tweet

The satirical newspaper referred to Quvenzhané Wallis on Sunday with an expletive intended to denigrate women. The Onion was lambasted overnight and asked for forgiveness Monday.

"It was crude and offensive -- not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting," The Onion CEO Steve Hannah wrote on Facebook. "No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire."

Hannah said the offensive tweet was taken down within an hour and the newspaper has "instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures" to ensure it will never happen again. Those responsible would be disciplined, he added.

"Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."

A message sent to Quvenzhané's representative seeking comment wasn't immediately returned Monday.

The Onion's original tweet brought some calls for the fake news organization to publicly identify the writer of the tweet, vows to refuse to retweet its material, and requests from outraged consumers to email The Onion to complain.

Oscar host Seth MacFarlane also joked about the young star during the ceremony. Some found his quip offensive, albeit not to the degree of the outrage over The Onion's tweet. MacFarlane joked that "it'll be 16 years before she's too old for" George Clooney.

It wasn't the first time The Onion has gotten into hot water for trying to push its humor. Last year, the site attracted public ire for an image that showed an airliner about to crash into Chicago's Willis Tower, the tallest building in the country.

And the year before, Washington Capitol Police released a statement refuting tweets and an article claiming that members of Congress had taken a group of schoolchildren hostage. The article had included a doctored picture of Republican John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, holding a gun to a child's head.

The Chicago-based publication was founded in 1988 by two students in Madison from the University of Wisconsin. Starting as a local college newspaper, it became a national comedy institution and went online in 1996, and has since developed a television news parody.

The publication is distributed weekly in cities, but it has also embraced Twitter and has an app for the iPad and other tablets. It says it averages 40 million page views and roughly 7.5 million unique visitors per month.

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Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
4Comments
Feb 25, 2013 2:23PM
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Get over it.  Words are only as powerful as you choose to make them.  The first time a man tried to "win" an argument by hurling this insult at me, I laughed and asked him if that's all he had.  It was like I grabbed his gun and emptied out the bullets. 

If you are sooo outraged over words that you can only refer to them by letters, the "c" word, the "n" word, whatever, it's your problem, so try wearing earplugs and shutting your eyes instead of trying to remove words from someone else's vocabulary. 

Feb 26, 2013 12:42PM
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she was a BRAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

not behaving at a well

Feb 25, 2013 11:47AM
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And here I was, thinking they called her coon.
Feb 25, 2013 11:59AM
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I was actually thinking she was being a bit of a brat... Everytime her name was mentioned she was waving her arms about... If Noami Watts sat there doing that everyone would have given her grief. Although a child, she was part of the big wigs for a night and should have behaved like young lady and not an arrogant little brat. Not trying to sound harsh or anything either... I am aware she is just a little kid, talented etc etc
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