The Monterey Bay Aquarium in America garnered mixed reactions after a tweet about Abby the otter went viral and became a meme, prompting a conversation about the power of language.
In a post on Tuesday, the aquarium posted a picture of a female otter called Abby and described it with what they saw as meme language.
Abby is a thick girl
What an absolute unit
She C h o n k
Look at the size of this lady
OH LAWD SHE COMIN
They followed up the tweet with #bodypawsitivity and:
Seriously though, Abby is looking fir 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!
Whilst many found the tweet funny, others thought it was offensive, as it used African American vernacular descriptors reserved for black women’s bodies, to describe an animal.
Monterey Bay Aquarium listened to the criticism, and apologised.
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.