Wow. Just Wow

I’m not sure what was more surprising: the fact that the popular satire site The Onion posted a tweet during Sunday’s Oscars that called 9-year-old starlet Quvenzhan√© Wallis a word deemed so offensive that even the most daring sites are replacing the last three letters with symbols (after the initial c) — or that the usually brilliant but nonetheless tactless Onion issued a sincere apology. No joking, no backpedaling, no excuses, no blame games, no sarcasm. Just a sincere, flat-out apology.

The tweet was immediately taken down, and according to Onion CEO Steve Hannah’s public apology, those responsible faced disciplinary action.

The first was surprising in a “whoa, can you believe they just did that?” kind of way; the second in a refreshing way.

Stuff happens. An unfortunate typo gets through. Or as in this case, an overzealous keeper of your organization’s Twitter or Facebook or whatever account lets something get by that maybe shouldn’t have. (Yes, it was in keeping with The Onion’s usual biting satire, but even many Onion devotees found it to be a bit much, given the girl’s age.)

The difference is in what you do once the damage is done. I have to hand it to The Onion. Handling this incident the way it did speaks volumes. The tweet was removed but it can’t be undone, so the best thing to do is exactly what The Onion did.

Do you think nonprofit organizations have anything to learn from this whole mess?

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