Monterey Bay Aquarium apologises for 'fat-shaming' an otter
California Based Aquarium suffered a Twitter outrage for Calling their Sea Otter 'Thicc'
The Monterey Bay Aquarium posted a picture of their 11-year-old resident sea Otter, Abby, by the poolside on their Twitter account. The adorable picture was captioned by an employee of the aquarium; although, the good people of Twitter weren't happy with the caption.
The caption read:
"Abby is a thicc girl, What an absolute unit, She Chonk, Look at the size of this lady OH LAWD SHE COMIN, Another Internetism!"
Abby is a thicc girl— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) December 18, 2018
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
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The post was majorly criticized for being insensitive, and the tweet was culturally appropriated by aligning the bodies of black women with the bodies of animals.
However, some Twitter users found the caption funny:
I don't think you should've had to apologise. It was actually funny, precisely because it was incongruous to have such adjectives applied to an otter. It was precisely that lack of context that made it funny. Everyone just chill.— Harv (@hiharveen) December 20, 2018
@MontereyAq Would you PLEASE stop apologizing for that otter meme?! It was funny and amazing and you didn’t denigrate women with your AAVE language. Geesh.— criticallyfunny (@uncannycritic) December 20, 2018
Although the photogenic Abby appeared to be overweight, The Aquarium Curator of Mammals, Christine DeAngelo later clarified that the otter is actually a healthy 46 lbs and looked blubbery because of the unflattering angle the picture was taken.
Furthermore, the aquarium issued an apology one day later in a four-message thread.
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
If our tweet alienated you, please know that we are deeply sorry, and that we offer our sincerest apologies. If you follow our feed, we often reference popular memes to talk about the ocean. In this case, the memes used had connotations we were unaware of until now. 2/4— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) December 19, 2018
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. 3/4— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) December 19, 2018
Our mission is to inspire conservation of the ocean, and we're thankful for your support as we try to advance that mission on social media. We're also thankful for those of you out there pointing out our blindspots and how we can improve. Thanks everyone. 4/4— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) December 19, 2018
The Monterey Bay still had to work on its image after the apology has many critics still weren’t pleased with its use of words.
The Sea Otter Abby was taken in and raised at SeaWorld and is expecting to cater for its sixth pub arriving in January. Monterey Bay Aquarium apologises for 'fat-shaming' an otter
Nobody wants to end up on the wrong side of the Twitter community