The Onion May Have Gone Too Far In Calling 9-Year Old Quvenzhané Wallis The C-Word

18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie AwardsHere is a list of a few things I like: Quvenzhané Wallis, the 9-year old Best Actress nominee who lost out to Jennifer Lawrence at The Oscars last night. The Onion. Irreverence. So isn’t it strange that when all those things are combined, I don’t like them at all? Like when The Onion irreverently and jokingly referred to Quvenzhané as the c-word in a now-deleted tweet. Luckily screenshots are a thing that exist in this world, so this brief lapse in judgement has been preserved for all eternity, and kindly censored by Gossip Cop.

Quvenzhané Wallis c-word tweetWeeeeeell I don’t know, guys. I like the format of the joke, and I see where you’re going with it, but I think the c-word fell just on the other side of the line of what’s appropriate to call a nine-year old. And I’m not even that mad at you about it, because obviously you realize it too, since you pulled the tweet. Not in the best taste, but it’s so clearly a joke that it’s hard for me to get that fired up about it. Quvenzhané is so clearly adorable and talented and spunky and great that it’s ridiculous to imagine otherwise. It’d be a similar situation to saying Betty White was a real slut or that Hugh Jackman got his jollies from punching puppies.

…except that those people are adults and Quvenzhané is nine, so it’s totally different and they really should’ve known better. But at least we’re all on the same page — The Onion pulled it from Twitter after only a few hours after they started getting backlash. Granted I might be much more outraged if I were her parent or friend, but from a media perspective, The Onion is hilarious and right on the money so much of the time that I think it’s okay for them to falter every once in a while. They obviously don’t really think she’s a c-word, or even a b-word or a pp-word (poopy-pants), so let’s just call this a momentary sense-blackout on their part and move on with our lives.

(Image: Brian To via / Twitter via Gossip Cop)

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    • Mel

      Really? Come on. Common sense much? How much does it take to realize you shouldn’t call a 9 year old (or anyone, for that matter, that word), joking aside. It’s not funny either way. Oh, oops! I called a child a ‘cu**’. Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Really?

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I think when you’re live-tweeting an event, things slip out that wouldn’t under other circumstances. Everyone agrees it was inappropriate, I’m just willing to accept their apology and move on.

    • Arielle

      I really don’y understand how smart people like the ones at the onion thought that this was ok at all.

    • Lois Rubin Gross

      No, let’s call it what it is; a verbal assault on a child and utterly tasteless. Moreover, I’m not crazy about it when an adult women is referred to by that word. th the Onion can be funny. This certaily wasn’t one of those times. I don’t think there’s a big enough apology in the world for this “joke.” The Onion needs to learn to pick victims who are actually old enough to fire back. They, on the other hand, have lost any credibility to being more than a bunch of alleged adults with 14 yr. old mentalities.