Former staff members of The Onion have denounced CEO Steve Hannah’s decision to apologize for an offensive tweet about Quvenzhané Wallis.
They say Hannah’s response to the controversy – taking down the offensive tweet, releasing a public apology, and vowing to discipline those responsible for the joke – compromises the staff’s editorial freedom.
According to BuzzFeed, most of The Onion’s editorial staff resigned last year, citing a loss of creative freedom. They seem to agree that the joke was in poor taste, but to them Hannah’s response is another example of why they left in the first place.
Hannah’s statement, Garden said, marked “the first time The Onion has ever retracted anything and run a real apology.”
“My reaction was, ‘It wasn’t a great joke, but big deal,'” Garden said. “I saw where they were going, and the commentary was about the media construct and the Oscar hype in general. But the tweet was shocking for the sake of shocking, but I think that [taking it down] was not the way to handle it.”
Another former Onion News Network writer warned the CEO would use this tweet to compromise the organization’s editorial freedom.
Do these former staffers have a point?
Or was there a line that simply should not have been crossed?
Sound off below!