Not much has changed since Hattie McDaniel won the coveted Oscar Award for her role as Mammy in 1939′s ‘Gone With the Wind’. As an institution The Academy Awards remains the most white-washed, sterilized private club in Hollywood. And like most private clubs, we still get in by invitation-only — and only if we portray Mammies or rape victims or runaway slaves in films (yes, even in 2013).
The inglorious 85th Academy Awards began with a racist sock puppet and ended with the shocking taunting of a 9-year-old.
The Academy Awards’ well-oiled publicity machine used 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis to draw in black viewers — like they do every year when they pump out press releases full of hope that this year will be different from the previous years when they practiced open discrimination against black actors.
Little Wallis stayed up way past her bedtime, only to be ridiculed and thrown to the dogs who were previously restrained from showing their true colors.
Wallis, who (we were reminded often) was the youngest black actress to be nominated for Best Actress Oscar in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, learned a harsh lesson about how the media (and others) builds stars up to tear them down.
Host Seth McFarlane (whose “jokes” stunk up the room) taunted the youngster in a tasteless closing number called “Here’s to the Losers”.
McFarlane told the child to hold her head up while calling her a loser.
But comedy/satire website The onion really took the cake.
During Sunday’s boring Oscars telecast, The Onion tweeted a message on its official Twitter account calling the 9-year-old the C-word.
“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a cunt, right? #Oscars2013″
Twitter shuddered and almost broke when outraged users tweeted their disapproval en masse. The Onion quickly deleted the outrageously offensive tweet.
There was outcry, with many calling out its inappropriateness and cheap dig. Treme and The Wire actor Wendell Pierce called out The Onion, tweeting: “Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humor I call it horrendous.”
Wrote Yahoo! Canada’s Greg Hughes: “The Onion made a pretty significant faux pas tonight on Quvenzhane Wallis. They deleted the tweet, but the Internet doesn’t ever forget.”
“Tonight @TheOnion behaved more like a 9yo than Quvenzhane Wallis, posting a tweet just to get attention. Well you’ve got it. Now what?” tweeted a user named Miss Lori.
Twitter user John Jones wrote: “Comedians usually stick to their guns, right or wrong. Pretty telling that the Onion pulled their tweet about young Quvenzhane Wallis…”
Elizabeth Hawksworth tweeted: “Quvenzhane Wallis is a nine year old woman of colour. Let’s let what @TheOnion did sink in and remember that Dakota Fanning never had this.”
Every year we promise not to continue our support of this racist institution, and every year we get sucked back in by their conciliatory handouts.
Photos: Michael Buckner/Getty Images North America; Christopher Polk/Getty Images North America; and FameFlynet Pictures