MONTEREY (CBS SF) — Monterey Bay Aquarium officials have issued an apology for an insensitive Twitter post that joked about a lovable sea otter named Abby’s weight and called the ensuing controversy “our learning moment.”
The tweet featured social media words and phrases such as “thick,” ”c h o n k” and “OH LAWD SHE COMIN” which are often used to describe someone who is overweight.
The post stirred up a firestorm of comments, many condemning the aquarium for body-shaming the loveable animal.
“Hey everyone,” aquarium officials tweeted. “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.”
The apology post continued: “In particular, several terms referenced originated from African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and specifically reference Black women’s bodies. Using them in a sea otter meme without that background makes insinuations we never intended. We need to do better.”
In another tweet, the aquarium heralded Abby for performing “one of the toughest jobs in the world: Raising stranded sea otter pups! She’s one of 6 resident females that train orphaned otters in the necessary skills to survive back in the wild.”