We expected well-known satirical news site the Onion to take some pot-shots during the 2013 Oscars, but we never expected them to refer to 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis as a not very nice word that, as the closing number joked, rhymes with Helen Hunt.

The now-deleted tweet has been preserved (and censored for your protection) via screenshot below.

Twitter

Wallis, who's so young that she brought a purse shaped like a puppy to the awards show, should be safe from this kind of crap. Even when it's in jest.

The rest of Twitter took none too kindly to the tweet, calling the site out on its offensive comment and even creating an online petition demanding an official apology.

Around 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday, the Onion posted the following to its Facebook page:

Dear Readers,

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.

Sincerely,

Steve Hannah
CEO
The Onion

"Also," he didn't add, "if anyone needs a writer, there's one who's newly unemployed."