Rule number one: Don’t call a nine year-old a c*nt. We can only assume that this was the opening gambit of The Onion’s “new and tighter Twitter procedures” after they were forced to apologise for calling Quvenzhane Wallis a c*nt. Yes. That’s Quvenzhane Wallis, the nine year-old Oscar nominee. There’s a fine line between humour and insult, that’s for sure, but The Onion well and truly overstepped that line when they used the remark in a Tweet on Oscars night (February 24, 2013).

The satirical US publication issued a statement of apology, after deleting the offending tweet (but not before it had been re-tweeted several hundred times). The Onion’s CEO, Steve Hannah said “It was crude and offensive - not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting,” The Telegraph reported. He added “Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry” and explained that those involved in writing and posting the Tweet would be reprimanded.

So far, Quvenzhane Wallis has not commented on the tweet. Wallis did not win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild but instead lost out to Jennifer Lawrence. If she had won, she would have been the youngest actress ever to take home the golden statuette. 

Quvenzhane Wallis

Quvenzhane Wallis arriving on the red carpet at The Oscars