The Onion has deleted a tweet that called 9-year-old Best Actress Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis an extremely offensive name.
In its original tweet, the parody publication -- which is known for its dark humor and for regularly skewering public figures and institutions -- wrote that, "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a c---, right?"
Normally, The Onion is known by its many fans to be joking about almost everything it publishes -- even though its satire is often seen as legitimate commentary on a wide range of issues. But in this case, its tweet outraged many who saw it. For example, Wendell Pierce, an actor who has starred in "The Wire" and "Treme," implored The Onion to identify the person that posted the tweet. "Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child," Pierce tweeted. "You call it humor I call it horrendous."
The Onion did not immediately respond to a request for comment by CNET. And as of this writing, it has made no comment on its Twitter feed about the tweet, or its deletion.
But the publication clearly saw that it had made a mistake, and it has deleted the tweet.
During tonight's Academy Awards, Wallis, who starred in "Beasts of the Southern Wild," lost out for the Best Actress Oscar to winner Jennifer Lawrence from "Silver Linings Playbook." It's not known what inspired The Onion's tweet.
Update February 25 at 8:48 a.m. PT: The CEO of The Onion, Steve Hannah, has just taken to the publication's Facebook page to offer an apology and to say that those behind the tweet would be disciplined:
Feb. 25, 2013
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.