Satirical news website The Onion came under fire after branding 9-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis as a “c***” on Twitter.
The Onion said in a post during last night’s Oscars ceremony: “Everybody else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c*** right?”
The tweet to The Onion’s millions of followers sparked outrage and was deleted around an hour later.
The post was met with a storm of complaints and demands for an apology from The Onion across social media.
Actor Wendell Pierce, who stars in Treme, described the tweet as an “abhorrent verbal attack of a child”, while another critic called for the writer behind the post to get “exactly what they deserve. From both the law and the street”.
Fans of the spoof website were among those expressing their distaste and disappointment at its use of the expletive in reference to Quvenzhané Wallis.
The Onion website features satirical articles based on national and international news. Its Twitter account has more than 4.5 million followers.
Quvenzhané Wallis was also at the heart of a second Twitter spat during the ceremony, after she was referred to as “Little Q” in coverage, prompting accusations of racism.