Satirical news outlet The Onion officially apologized on Monday morning for its tweet calling nine-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis a crude word.
The mea culpa from Onion CEO Steve Hannah appeared on the company’s Facebook page:
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.
The apology already has more than a thousand comments, many of which question why The Onion would apologize. For instance:
“This is the only formal apology by The Onion that I have ever seen. I kept waiting for the punch line…”
“I just lost respect for the Onion; not for the tweet but for this apology.”
The tweet in question, which was posted at 11:42 p.m. ET on Sunday, was removed one hour after it was posted. It said:
“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c***, right? #Oscars2013”
Not only did it spark outrage, but also a fierce debate between Onion sympathizers—who defended it as “satire”—and those standing up for the nine-year-old actress.