The Onion's CEO has apologized for a controversial tweet calling nine-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis the C-word, dubbing it "senseless, humourless comment masquerading as satire."
"It was crude and offensive ó not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting," said Steve Hannah in a statement Monday. "Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."
The tweet, which was retweeted hundreds of times before getting deleted, read: "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a c---, right?"
It drew the ire of many people, including celebrities.
"Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humour I call it horrendous," wrote Treme and The Wire actor Wendell Pierce.
"Calling a nine year old girl a C--- IS NOT SATIRE!" wrote Levar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow.
The Onion says those responsible for the tweet will be disciplined.
"We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again," said Hannah.
Wallis was nominated for best actress for her role in Beasts Of The Southern Wild, but lost to Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for her role in Silver Linings Playbook.
The young performer ó the youngest actress ever nominated for best actress ó will next play Annie in a screen remake of the Broadway musical.