CHICAGO (AP) – The satirical newspaper The Onion is attracting some public ire for an image that shows an airliner about to crash into Chicago’s Willis Tower, the tallest building in the country.
The image, in a video on The Onion’s website showcasing its stories, shows an airplane emblazoned with the company name Sears flying toward the iconic black skyscraper, which for decades was named Sears Tower and headquarters to the retail chain. A narrator intones, “Sears extremists fly a plane into Willis Tower.”
The image generated more than 3,200 responses on The Onion’s Facebook page by Friday evening, many denouncing the use of an image reminiscent of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
In response to questions about the criticism and using such an image, The Onion marketing director Grant Jones stuck with the newspaper’s tone. He wrote in an email that, “9-11 must never be the fodder for jokes. Perhaps you didn’t see the news that humor died after 9-11.”
Jones called the blurb “a very important story,” then added: “We’re surprised other major news sources are not giving it the coverage it deserves.”
People in New York weren’t taking the image as lightly.
“That’s not funny,” said Christina Lopez, 36, who was living on New York’s Long Island on Sept. 11, 2001. She said she can’t foresee a time when such a gag would be appropriate, adding: “It’s not OK. Ever.”
Bill Hylen, a Philadelphian who was visiting lower Manhattan on Friday, also didn’t find the image amusing. The 45-year-old said there may be a time when a lighthearted allusion to 9/11 won’t hit such a nerve in the nation, but “it’s not coming up any time soon.”
It isn’t the first time The Onion has generated angst with its satire.
Last September, Washington Capitol Police released a statement refuting tweets and an article claiming members of Congress had taken a group of school children hostage. It included a doctored picture of Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner holding a gun to a child’s head.
The story came a day after the FBI arrested a man accused of planning to bomb the Pentagon and the Capitol with explosive-filled model airplanes.
The Chicago-based publication was founded in 1988 by two students in Madison from the University of Wisconsin. Starting as a local college newspaper, it became a national comedy institution and went online in 1996, and has since developed a television news parody. The publication is distributed weekly in cities, but it has also embraced Twitter and on has an app for the iPad and other tablets.
The Onion’s editorial staff has been based in New York City with other offices in Madison, Wis., but is relocating to Chicago.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever