Whenever your job is to be creative on a daily basis, you run into a certain amount of trouble. Be it stand-up comics, or new media writers or talk show hosts (or any other creative field), eventually you’re going to say or do something that is going to get you in a shitload of hot water. The Onion is sitting atop that boiler at the moment.
Coming recently off the heels of their “Oscargate” Twitter flap, The Onion is seeing their past jokes now come back to haunt them in the form of a video from their old “Onion Sportsdome” show. The video, entitled “Athlete Overcomes Rape” was apparently from 2011 (the one year “Onion Sportsdome” was on Comedy Central), but holds a lot of water now as people are holding it up against the ugly incidents of the “Steubenville Rape Case.”
While most of the comments are geared towards “Wow, look how closely this mirrors what happened in Steubenville…” others are offended by the video, not realizing (or not caring) that it is a few years old.
This is one of those unfortunate situations in which context suffers by proximity. “Rape” was perhaps a less loaded topic in 2011 than it is now (clearly), and as such, everybody needs to take a chill pill. It’s like Harvey Dent says in “The Dark Knight”(and it’s a shame I’ve had to quote this as often as I do): “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Now, this might not seem to make much sense outside of the superhero world, but us creative professionals mostly know exactly what the hell that is about. I have had my past thrown in my face a few times, and it stings. That doesn’t mean I’m going to walk on eggshells regarding the things I write about now, so that I might not offend people in the future. And neither should the Onion. This is the price of creating content in an overly sensitive world. Shrug and keep moving, creatives.