The boss of satirical website The Onion has issued a public apology to young actress Quvenzhane Wallis after one of his writers called her the worst word in the English language on Oscars Sunday (24Feb13).

The over-confident, precocious nine-year-old has ruffled a lot of feathers with her no-nonsense attitude in interviews and one Onion correspondent decided to speak out on behalf of the reporters who have faced the Beasts of the Southern Wild star.

The unnamed writer tweeted, "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a c**t, right?"

The offensive tweet was quickly removed but not before fans and celebrities took aim at The Onion for allowing a writer to post it.

Actress Marlee Matlin, who met with Wallis for a recent The Hollywood Reporter photospread was horrified. She tweeted, "Not that they would care, but I have no plans of ever following @theonion for their Horrific tweet about a nine year old Oscar nominee."

The Onion's Ceo, Steve Hannah, has since posted an apology on behalf of his staff.

Acknowledging that the comment was "crude and offensive", he added, "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."