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Never Fat-Shame a Sea Otter. Never.

Monterey Bay Aquarium has a 'learning moment' after trying to act like the cool kids on Twitter
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2018 10:19 AM CST
Abby the sea otter at Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif. The aquarium apologized after some people perceived a tweet about the sea otter as body-shaming. The aquarium tweeted a multipart apology...   (Monterey Bay Aquarium via AP)

(Newser) – Furthering the Internet truism that 140 characters is plenty of letters to trigger an avalanche of trouble, we present to you an unlikely example: The Monterey Bay Aquarium, accused of fat-shaming one of its own sea otters and just being painful in general. As KPIX reports, the aquarium, or maybe just a rival gang of sea lions, tweeted a photo of Abby along with a little ditty that went thusly: "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 !" Aforementioned avalanche of Internet-shaming ensued, and when adults regained control of the aquarium's Twitter account, it was with no small amount of mea culpas.

"Hey everyone," the aquarium tweeted. “It has come to our attention that some of the references in this tweet are problematic and insensitive;" officials invited critics to "join us in our learning moment." Further, "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." Abby, meanwhile, is "looking fit for 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." (Read more Monterey Bay Aquarium stories.)

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