The Onion, a source for online and printed satire that routinely skewers celebrities, apologized on Monday for a what it called a crude and offensive tweet directed at nine-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis.
The Internet was abuzz with commentary after The Onion on Sunday night referred to the young Best Actress nominee using a four-letter term seen as perhaps the most offensive word in American English.
Steve Hannah, The Onion's chief executive, found the tweet devoid of humor.
"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," Hannah said in a statement. "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," he said.
The Onion removed the tweet within an hour of its publication, instituted stricter new procedures for Twitter and took steps to discipline the people responsible, Hannah added.
"Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry," Hannah wrote to the star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," who became the youngest ever Best Actress nominee and gleefully reveled in the honors bestowed upon her in the film awards season.