Monterey Bay Aquarium in California apologized after a failed attempt to use Internet humor to call a sea otter fat and garner publicity was met with accusations of racism, sexism, and fatphobia.
The trouble started for Monterey Bay Aquarium when some well intentioned soul made a cute tweet using meme lingo to make fun of an overweight sea otter. Monterey Bay composed the tweet in the form of a poem, calling the otter a “thicc girl,” “an absolute unit,” and concluded the tweet with “Another Internetism!”
Abby is a thicc girl
What an absolute unit
She c h o n k
Look at the size of this lady
OH LAWD SHE COMIN
Another Internetism ! pic.twitter.com/s5fav2gu09
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) December 18, 2018
The tweet was immediately met with enormous praise, only for sharply worded criticisms from the social justice warriors on the left to ruin the Internet’s fun yet again. After a college professor used her now-private Twitter account to accuse the Monterey Bay Aquarium of “basically comparing Black women to animals.”
Other Twitter users said that even though they could see nothing wrong with the tweet, they would go ahead and remain angry since others are able to find reasons to.
When I 1st saw this, I thought "This is kinda appropriating AAVE." But I wasn't sure. I've seen POC now saying that it is, so I'm going to support them in saying that this is not appropriate. I'm sure this was done without malice, but this is a chance to learn & do better.
— Melissa Flora (@spunkyblah) December 19, 2018
While users found a variety of reasons to be angry at the Twitter post, the most frequent complaints seemed to be that the aquarium was “appropriating” a certain way of speaking, and that the aquarium was comparing African American women to animals.
Until we address our underlying racist systems it will continue to feel weird and gross to make jokes out of the vernacular of marginalized people. And it should.
— Katie 🐝🐝🐝 (@kejtia) December 20, 2018
Even though the support seemed to outweigh the backlash, the aquarium later followed up with an apology, fessing up to referencing “African American Vernacular English (AAVE),” and admitting they “need to do better.”
Hey everyone. It has come to our attention that some of the references in this tweet are problematic and insensitive. We're posting here in the thread so that people who have engaged with this tweet will join us in our learning moment. 1/4
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) December 19, 2018
The hilarious notion of an aquarium publicly apologizing for calling a nursing zoo animal fat and attempting to engage with young fans on social media has caught fire in 2018, with famous YouTuber Count Dankula, who faced legal charges after teaching a pug to salute Hitler, calling it “Peak 2018.”
Having to apologize for calling an otter fat is peak 2018. pic.twitter.com/HiHG6LLdh2
— Count Dankula🏴 (@CountDankulaTV) December 20, 2018
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