While many of us were beaming with joy at the way refreshingly kid-like Quvenzhane Wallis handled herself on the Oscar Red Carpet, someone at The Onion tweeted about her using what may be the most offensive word in English language.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the Onion is a satirical news outlet that posts tongue-in-cheek articles and headlines on the internet.
As far as the what word they used … I can’t even bring myself to repeat it here, so for the purposes of this blog, we will call it the “C”- word.
On Monday, the “publication’s” chief executive Steve Hannah released the following statement on Facebook:
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.”
He went on to say the Tweet was taken down within an hour of being posted and that tighter procedures have been put in place to make sure that kind of mistake doesn’t happen again. Finally, he says those responsible for the Tweet would be disciplined and to Quvenzhane he offered “Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.”
All the right stuff … all too late.
The bottom line is what kind of world are we living in where the “C”- word could even be considered a satirical term in reference to any woman … let alone a 9-year-old girl.
The damage goes for beyond the obvious offense. As Mr. Hannah noted, the Tweet was deleted the same night it was posted. But we all know what happens once a story goes viral … there’s “virtually” no turning back. That means from now until eternity, when Quvenzahne or any one else Googles her name that word could come up.
What a horrible footnote to such a historic night. Quvenzhane, is the youngest ever nominated for an Academy Award.
There’s an old story about a woman on a chicken farm who was the victim of vicious gossip. A neighbor who started the gossip came to her to apologize and begged her forgiveness. The woman said she would accept the apology if the neighbor would help her with a task. She emptied a basket of chicken feathers and watched them blow all over the yard, then asked the neighbor to help pick them up.
“They’ve blown all over, up in the air all around in all directions,” the neighbor cried.
“Just like the rumors,” said the woman.
The biggest issues is where the line is and how far over it will we allow the media, traditional and social, to go? I work on a radio show that relishes in satire and humor that some can and do find offensive from time to time. I get that some people are more sensitive to certain types of humor than others.
But in my opinion there’s no debate about the “C” word ever.
And an apology in this case, isn’t enough.