The Monterey Bay Aquarium receives around two million visitors each year.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Twitter account has gained some notoriety for posting hilarious tweets connecting trending memes and slang with animals at their facility.
Tuesday, the account posted another of these seemingly innocent tweets:
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
and followed it up with some useful info about otters.
Seariously tho, Abby 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. There's a lot more to this sea otter than meets the eye!— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) December 18, 2018
The tweet proved controversial, however. Here is one tweet we found criticizing the original.
Weird...here’s a picture though. Presumably the only word of contention is ‘thicc,’ given that the others are uncontroversially derivative of internet communities? pic.twitter.com/D37UQZ7GVF— Zach Kim (@litgenstein) December 19, 2018
The Monterey Bay Aquarium took the criticism seriously and released a string of apologies.
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
Some users believed that there was no need for the backpedaling–
Ummm this was amazing don’t apologize. I didn’t find it culturally insensitive at all. How it was played off was pretty clever. Following up with a positive fact on female otters. Come on, people can screw off with being offended.— Ka’iulani (@nikkihalsted) December 20, 2018
Anyone offended by this needs to take a break from the internet for a few years.— ToastySmiles (@ToastySmiles) December 20, 2018
Don't apologize. It only makes the mob stronger.— RedBeardMan (@redbeardman) December 20, 2018
–some just fell in love with Abby.
No exaggeration but i would literally die for Abby— Mike Speranzo (@mikesperanzo) December 20, 2018
Whichever side you take, the Abby Tweet serves as a sort of microcosm of a year filled with controversy.
Do you think they otter bee ashamed?