In what may be a first, The Onion apologized today for calling 9-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis the C-word on Twitter.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, read: "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c--t, right? #Oscars2013."
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Reaction on Twitter was swift and severe.
"@TheOnion Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humor I call it horrendous," wrote "The Wire" star Wendell Pierce, who went on to demand that the site issue an apology.
"The Daily Show" co-creator Lizz Winstead posted a sarcastic tweet that took the site to task, writing: "9-year olds are always so into irony. #AndAlwaysAppreciateIt #Edgy #Fail @TheOnion."
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Other Twitter users wrote they were unfollowing The Onion, and some supporting a Change.org petition demanding the satirical outlet express regret, CNN reported.
The Onion posted an apology from CEO Steve Hannah on its Facebook page today.
"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," Hannah's statement read. "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."
Quvenzhané has her own Twitter account, but it's not known if she read The Onion's tweet.