The Onion done f*cked up now. While many thought Seth MacFarlane hosted the Oscars to little controversy, it was another comedic outlet that threw a Molotov cocktail at the Internet with a horribly misguided tweet, which has since been deleted.
Sheesh. Where do we start? Well, The Onion dropped an abusive term in reference to a kid barely old enough to do timetables. And it dropped that abusive term about a girl of color. Dakota Fanning never had to deal with this.
Beyond that, The Onion committed a cardinal sin for an outlet of its nature: it just wasn’t funny. There are way more humorous ways to push the envelope and make fun of someone, no matter the age or race. Just think of all of the Willow Smith jokes you’ve heard in your lifetime. If they wanted to pick on Quvenzhané Wallis, they could have, but they would have had to know where the line was.
Just think of someone like Louis C.K., an actually brilliant comedian who drops N-bombs and C-bombs left and right. He understands the dynamics of those words and knows how to say them without offending. Most importantly, he’s funny. Now compare C.K. to Lisa Lampanelli, who’s just worthless at everything and recently got crushed for her use of the N-word on Twitter.
This all reminds me of this one wannabe liberal guy I went to school with. He thought we lived in a post-racial society and everything was fair game. So when he saw me going back and forth over racial jokes with my white friends, who actually hung around Black people before, he took to yelling “Kool-Aid” at me repeatedly. That was his joke. Just yelling “Kool-Aid.” I spent a long time convinced he was the worst racist: the one who thinks he’s too liberal to be racist (which may still be true). But more likely, he’s just a guy who’s not funny. And in comedy, that can be the worst indictment around.
Either way, the folks at The Onion have a busy Monday morning on their hands.
Update: The Onion did go ahead and issue an apology, released via their Facebook. CEO Steve Hannah called the tweet “crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.” According to the apology, actions are being taken to discipline those responsible for sharing the message originally. Hannah closed the message with the following: “Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.”
We all love irony and satire. We also share a level of respect for those who are willing to admit when they’ve done something perceived as a wrong.