(The Root) — On Monday, CEO Steve Hannah posted a rare apology on behalf of the staff members who called 9-year-old best actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis the c-word in a tweet from its official Twitter account during the broadcast of the 85th Academy Awards on Sunday. “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,” he said in a Facebook posting.
But the apology came hours later, giving the appearance at first that the publication had chosen to ignore the incident.
On Sunday, a staffer tweeted: “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a [c–t], right? #Oscars2013,” the Hollywood Reporter reports about the Onion, which today boasts 4.6 million followers @TheOnion.
The message, which was sent about 8:42 p.m. PST on Sunday, quickly made the social media rounds but was deleted about an hour later, reports show. But not before igniting an uproar. The Twitter hashtag #unfollowtheonion captures some of the blowback.
Canadian poet and short-story writer Elizabeth Hawksworth was among those expressing outrage. She tweeted: “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.”