Aquarium apologises after sharing photo of ‘thicc’ otter

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An aquarium in California has apologised after sharing a picture of one of its otters on Twitter with a caption calling it “thicc” and “an absolute unit”.

The original tweet about Abby the otter from the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been liked nearly 20,000 times since it was posted on Tuesday evening and the overwhelming number of responses have been positive.

The tweet picks up on a variety of online slang which has become popular in recent years.

The term “thicc” has come into use as a positive description of curvy body types, while “absolute unit” is often used to jokingly describe large people or animals.

“Chonk” and “OH LAWD SHE COMIN” both refer to a comedy sizing chart for cats which went viral over the summer.

Other Twitter users responded with praise or their own jokes.

But others appeared concerned about the impact of using African-American slang to describe animals, prompting the aquarium to apologise for “connotations we were unaware of until now”.

“If our tweet alienated you, please know that we offer our sincerest apologies,” the aquarium stated.

“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.”

The aquarium added: “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 blind spots and how we can improve.”

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