The Onion Crosses The Line With Joke About 9-Year-Old Oscar Nominee Quvenzhane Wallis — But So Did Host Seth MacFarlane [UPDATED]
UPDATE: The Onion has posted an apology on their Facebook page. Read it here.
Last night’s Oscars draggggggged on and on, but if you managed to stay up for the full exhausting affair, and were fooling around on Twitter at the same time, then you probably saw controversy erupt over a tweet posted to The Onion’s account.
Everyone seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a cunt right?
Quvenzhane Wallis is nine years old, you guys. Not okay, The Onion. But they weren’t alone. Seth MacFarlane crossed the line big time too.
MacFarlane — who, I thought, was a terrible host — involved Wallis in one of his many tasteless, sexist, not-even-funny jokes last night; directed at notorious ladies man George Clooney, MacFarlane identified Wallis as a potential sexual partner:
“Quvenzhane Wallis won’t be ‘too old for Clooney’ for another 16 years.”
There’s a good chance that goddawful joke went over Quvenzhane’s head, but I can only imagine how revolted her mother and sister, who were in attendance with her last night, might have felt at hearing this lovely child sexualized, to her face, during an international awards broadcast. Foul.
As for The Onion, they are, of course a satirical comedy site. Another one of their tweets from Oscar night was, “Oscars Fashion Report: Kathryn Bigelow Stuns On Red Carpet Wearing Blood-Soaked Rags Osama Bin Laden Was Killed In,” so yeah, “edgy” is what they do. This wasn’t edgy. A joke at the expense of a nine-year-old child, on the occasion of her first trip to the Oscars, calling her arguably the most offensive insult you could throw at a female? After host Seth MacFarlane has already said she’s the right to have sex with George Clooney? NO. Many, many on Twitter — including fans and followers of The Onion — reacted with outrage. HLN reporter Richelle Carey wrote:
Comedian Sara Benincasa wrote on her Tumblr:
This one just doesn’t sit right with me, gang. It just fucking doesn’t. She’s a real human being and she’s 9 years old and that’s a harsh word to use about a kid, even in jest, even parodying our catty-as-hell celebrity worship/hate culture.
As for The Onion’s satire?
Satire is punching up. Satire is mocking a president or a scion of industry or a megabillionaire jackass. Not a small child. — @AmadiTalk5
But The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum wasn’t about to let MacFarlane off the hook:
As awful as @TheOnion joke was, people shd be equally disgusted by McFarlane’s joke about Quvenzhané dating Clooney, which was to her face. To people pointing out the joke was abt Clooney dating jailbait, yes, it was. But she is a 9 YEAR OLD GIRL in the audience of The Oscars.. — @EmilyNussbaum
The Onion deleted the tweet after about an hour of it being live, i.e. way too long in internet time, where nothing disappears. They have yet to apologize.