Steel yourself for the following tweet posted on The Onion’s feed during the Oscars: “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a cunt, right?” The Onion deleted the tweet an hour after it appeared, but the Internet’s outrage on the behalf of the 9-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild actress was instantaneous and explosive. The Wire’s Wendell Pierce wrote, “ Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humor I call it horrendous.” The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead was one of many prepared to reject any explanation involving the publication’s satirical track record: “9-year olds are always so into irony. .” Freelance writer Seve Chambers added, “I like @TheOnion, but someone has to lose a job over the Quvenzhané tweet. A line was crossed with that ugly joke.” A couple easily identifiable problems here: Wallis uses Twitter and is totally going to hear about this; deleting heinous posts doesn’t remedy anything — didn’t The Onion see The Social Network?
Quvenzhané Wallis on the red carpet at the Oscars.